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January 2013 OPHI e-Update

Welcome to the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative’s regular email update of announcements, opportunities and new publications. If you have any problems viewing this email, you can read it online here:


Workshop finds income poor and multidimensionally poor households are not the same
At a recent OPHI research workshop, 13 of the 17 papers presented computed multidimensional and income poverty from the same dataset, usually across several periods, and analysed which households were poor by both measures, or poor by only one. Across all papers and different poverty measures, authors found high mis-matches, with only 20% to 50% of poor households being identified as poor by both measures unless the multidimensional poverty measure itself included income. Papers also found higher rural-urban differentials using multidimensional poverty measures, but lower effects of household size. You can see and listen to the presentations given at the workshop here, and can watch a number of video interviews that were recorded with participants about the key findings here. [Dynamic Comparison between Multidimensional Poverty and Monetary Poverty… ]

Extensive Analysis of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index
The Centre for Bhutan Studies launched a book entitled ‘An Extensive Analysis of GNH Index’ with OPHI in Delhi in October. Co-authored by Karma Ura, Sabina Alkire, Tshoki Zangmo and Karma Wangdi, the book provides a detailed exposition of the construction of the GNH Index, its analysis and policy implications. A public-sector document that will not be otherwise published in academic form, this recently launched book, which is available in full online, provides the definitive academic resource on the GNH Index. [ Extensive Analysis of GNH Index… ]

OPHI visits Brazilian state implementing an MPI
Two members of OPHI’s outreach team were in Brazil in November, working with the State Government of Minas Gerais and the João Pinheiro Foundation (FJP) to support the implementation of a Multidimensional Poverty Index in 130 of the state’s municipalities. John Hammock and Mauricio Apablaza also presented at the ‘International Seminar on Multidimensional Poverty: Beyond Income’ in Belo Horizonte, and paid a visit to Verdelândia, where they met with people who have benefited from social projects implemented as part of the Travessia programme run by the State Government. [OPHI staff in Brazil for seminar, MPI training…]

OPHI awarded prize for ‘extraordinary contributions’
OPHI has won the Award for Betterment of the Human Condition given by the International Society for Quality of Life Studies ( ISQOLS ), a Berlin-based organisation which aims to promote and encourage research in this field. The prize, which is given every two years for 'extraordinary contributions to the application of quality of life research for the betterment of humanity', was presented by ISQOLS President Filomena Maggino at a gala dinner in Venice. [OPHI wins award for Betterment of the Human Condition…]


Research in Progress Paper 37a: Well-being, Happiness and Public Policy
This paper, produced by OPHI Director Sabina Alkire for the International Expert Working Group for a New Development Paradigm, articulates a multidimensional concept of happiness and well-being, and highlights radical policies which illustrate the implications of focusing on human flourishing as the fundamental objective. [Research in Progress Paper 37a…]

New Working Paper 26b: Rank Robustness of Composite Indices
This paper by James Foster, Mark McGillivray and Suman Seth, ‘Rank Robustness of Composite Indices: Dominance and Ambiguity’, is an extension of Working Paper 26. Judgements rendered by composite indices are often given great importance, yet by definition are contingent on an initial vector of weights. A comparison made with one weighting vector could be robust to variations in the weights or, alternatively, it may be reversed at some other plausible vector. This paper presents criteria to discern between these two cases. [OPHI Working Paper 26b…]

Research in Progress Paper 36a: Multidimensional Poverty in EU-SILC Countries
This paper, ‘Multidimensional poverty measurement for EU-SILC countries’ by Sabina Alkire, Mauricio Apablaza and Euijin Jung, presents a set of experimental indices of multidimensional poverty using cross-sectional EU-SILC data (European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions). In constructing the indices, the authors compare differences across gender, age and country, and the joint distributions across deprivations in work, income, material deprivation, health, education, and social factors. [Research in Progress Paper 36a…]

‘Missing Dimensions’ resources now in Spanish and Mandarin
Resources on OPHI's 'Missing Dimensions' research, which identifies aspects of poverty beyond material resources that deprived people cite as important, are now available in Spanish and Mandarin. The working papers which propose indicators for each of the five missing dimensions - quality of work, empowerment, physical safety, the ability to go about without shame and psychological wellbeing - have been abridged and translated into Spanish, along with the paper that introduces OPHI's work in this area. Two of the papers have also been translated into Mandarin, as have the survey modules for each of the five dimensions. [‘Missing Dimensions’ resources in Spanish and Mandarin…]

OPHI researcher co-authors working papers on poverty in Venezuela
OPHI Research Officer José Manuel Roche has produced two working papers in Spanish for the Banco Central de Venezuela with César Gallo, retired Professor of the Universidad Central de Venezuela. The first paper looks at ‘ The Dimensions of Poverty in Venezuela and Changes between 1997 and 2010: Proposal for a Multidimensional Measure’, and the second focuses on ‘An Analysis of Multidimensional Poverty in Venezuela by Federal Agencies between 2001 and 2010’. [Working papers on poverty in Venezuela…] ophi-researcher-co-authors-bank-of-venezuela-working-papers


Lunchtime seminar series for Hilary term
Professor Paul Glewwe of the University of Minnesota will be among the presenters of OPHI’s lunchtime seminars during Hilary term. The series begins on Monday 14 January with a presentation by OPHI Director Sabina Alkire on multidimensional poverty in 18 European countries, and topics to be discussed over the course of the term include: analysis of inequality for counting approaches; chronic poverty in Indonesia; poverty comparisons with non-monotone welfare relationships; and understanding associations across deprivation indicators. The seminars will be held in Seminar Room 3 in Queen Elizabeth House from 1-2pm on Mondays. Everyone is welcome, and a complimentary sandwich lunch will be available on a first come, first served basis. [Lunchtime Seminar Series listings…]

Washington workshop examines ‘Inclusive Growth and Poverty in Asia’
On 3-4 December, OPHI held a joint workshop in Washington D.C. with the Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University, and the Asian Development Bank. Participants included Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Colombia University; Guanghua Wan, Principal Economist at the Asian Development Bank; and James Foster, OPHI Research Associate and Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University. [Workshop on Inclusive Growth and Poverty in Asia…]


Seminar on Multidimensional Poverty Measures and Gender
OPHI Director Sabina Alkire presented a seminar in the World Bank’s Gender and Development series on ‘The Relevance of Multidimensional Poverty Measures to Thinking about Gender’. The seminar shared how the Alkire Foster method of multidimensional poverty measurement can be applied at the individual, rather than household level, to explore patterns of individual poverty by gender, age and household type. Multidimensional measures can also be used to construct new comparisons across individuals or groups; for example, of intra-household gender parity. You can watch a video recording of the seminar here, and see the powerpoint presentation here. [Seminar on Multidimensional Poverty Measures and Gender…]

OPHI researchers take part in international seminar in Chile
OPHI research officers Mauricio Apablaza and Diego Zavaleta took part in an international seminar in Chile entitled ‘Multidimensionalidad de la pobreza: Alcances para su definición y evaluación en América Latina y el Caribe’ (‘The Multidimensionality of Poverty: Scope for Definitition and Evaluation in Latin America and the Caribbean’). Zavaleta was a panellist in a session on ‘Why study poverty from a multidimensional perspective?’, while Apablaza took part in a discussion on ‘Quantitative and qualitative approaches to the multidimensionality of poverty’ at the event, which was held in Santiago de Chile on 22-23 November. [International seminar in Chile…]

OPHI gives keynote speech at poverty conference in Tunisia
OPHI Research Associate John Hammock was one of the keynote speakers at an Open Source Conference on 'Revolution against Poverty' held in Tunisia in November. The conference, which was held to collect ideas on reducing poverty to feed into a national dialogue, took place in Tunis and was sponsored by the Office of the Presidency of the Republic. Topics discussed included 'Income poverty measurement' and 'What is key to the measurement of poverty?'. [Poverty conference in Tunisia…]

Meeting discusses design of Bhutan’s next Gross National Happiness survey
OPHI director Sabina Alkire was among the presenters at the Centre for Bhutan Studies’ ‘Meeting of Practitioners and Scholars on Happiness’, which took place in Thimphu on 30-31 October. The meeting was held to discuss improvements to the survey questionnaire used to generate the Gross National Happiness Index, and related analyses and policy advice. [Meeting of Practitioners and Scholars on Happiness]

OPHI Research Officer gives Spanish webinar
OPHI research officer José Manuel Roche gave a webinar in Spanish on ‘The Multidimensional Poverty Index: Capturing the Complexity of Poverty and Informing Public Policy’ in November. The webinar was given as part of the ‘Máster Universitario en Cooperación al Desarrollo’ (Masters in Development Co-operation) course run by La Universitat Politècnica de València. Anyone interested could log in and ask questions during the webinar, which was recorded and can be viewed here. [Spanish webinar on the MPI…]

Children of the Andes workshop on ‘Rethinking Poverty’
OPHI researchers José Manuel Roche and Yadira Díaz spoke at a forum entitled ‘Rethinking Poverty: Experiences from Colombia – How can a new approach to measuring poverty improve attempts to combat poverty in Colombia?’ on 6 November. Among other things, the workshop discussed how OPHI’s Alkire Foster method was adapted by the Colombian government to create a new, national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for Colombia, and how this example can help other countries produce a more nuanced picture of poverty and deprivation and, as a result, design better poverty reduction strategies. [Children of the Andes workshop…]

OPHI presents three papers at DSA conference
OPHI presented three papers at the annual Development Studies Association (DSA) conference in London in November during a panel on multidimensional poverty. The research presented included a paper by José Manuel Roche on child poverty measurement; Sabina Alkire and Suman Seth’s paper on targeting methods to identify Below the Poverty Line (BPL) households in India; and an update by Alkire, Roche and Andy Sumner of King’s College on where the world’s multidimensionally poor live. [DSA conference…]


OPHI is pleased to welcome a number of visiting academics and students during spring/summer 2013.

Kim Samuel, our former policy advisor, joins us as Scholar in Residence and will be conducting research on isolation, shame and humiliation as a critical experiential and measurable component of multidimensional poverty.

Sameen Zafar, a doctoral student from the University of Nottingham, will be joining us as a Study Fellow to advance her research on multidimensional poverty in the Punjabs of India and Pakistan.


January 2013 - OPHI e-Update “Advancing freedoms and overcoming poverty”

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Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI)
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OPHI gratefully acknowledges support from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)/(DFID) Joint Scheme, Robertson Foundation, Praus, UNICEF N’Djamena Chad Country Office, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (GIZ), Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), John Fell Oxford University Press (OUP) Research Fund, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report Office, national UNDP and UNICEF offices, and private benefactors. International Development Research Council (IDRC) of Canada, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), UK Department of International Development (DFID), and AusAID are also recognised for their past support.

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