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July 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:


Launch of the Global Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network
On 6 June 2013, the Global Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network was formally launched in Oxford by President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and high-level representatives from Mexico and around 20 other governments. The Network, for policymakers engaged in, or exploring, the implementation of multidimensional poverty measures, enables early adopters of such measures to share their experiences directly with other countries. The presentations from the Policy Symposium on 6 June and the Multidimensional Poverty Roundtables on 7 June were filmed and are available to view online, along with the PowerPoint presentations, on the Global MPPN webpage. You can also watch President Santos’ speech, read the Network Communiqué, see a list of participants and much more. [Global Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network…]

OPHI hosts lecture by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen on ‘Discovery of Women’
Participants of the Global MPPN launch were among those attending a distinguished public lecture given by OPHI advisor Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate in Economics, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. The lecture, entitled ‘Discovery of Women’, was given to a packed Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford on 6 June 2013, and was chaired by the Rt Hon Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of Oxford University. The lecture was filmed and is available to watch online. [Distinguished public lecture by Amartya Sen…]

OPHI Summer School 2013 underway in Washington DC
The OPHI Summer School on Multidimensional Poverty Analysis 2013 is now underway with roughly 60 participants at George Washington University's International Institute for Economic Policy (IIEP) in Washington DC, USA. Led by OPHI's Director and Research Officers, the two-week intensive course provides a thorough conceptual and technical introduction to some techniques of measuring multidimensional poverty, with a strong emphasis on the Alkire Foster method. Materials from the Summer School will be posted on OPHI’s website shortly after it closes on 19 July. [OPHI Summer School 2013…]

Vietnam joins Peer Network as it moves to adopt multidimensional poverty measure
Vietnam’s Vice-Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Nguyen Trong Dam, announced at a workshop on multidimensional poverty in Nha Trang that he would join the global Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (see above), and set out a timetable for establishing a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to be included in Vietnam’s 2015-2020 National Plan. OPHI’s John Hammock presented the Alkire Foster method of multidimensional measurement at the workshop, and described how it is being applied in Mexico, Colombia, Bhutan and other countries. The workshop brought together close to 100 participants from the national government, academia and think tanks, as well as representatives of ethnic minorities and local communities. [Vietnam joins Global MPPN…]

MPI 2.0 leads poll on how to measure poverty post-2015
An ongoing poll asking readers of Duncan Green’s blog to vote for the poverty measures they would prefer as the basis for a post-2015 agreement showed the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2.0 the clear winner as of 11 July. The poll followed a blog series on the Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) Development Progress website about how a post-2015 framework ought to measure poverty.OPHI Director Sabina Alkire’s blog, entitled ‘Why the poorest of the poor need MPI 2.0′, makes the case for a measure based on the global MPI, which would complement an income poverty measure by revealing the simultaneous disadvantages in various dimensions that a person is experiencing. The other blog entries were authored by Martin Ravallion, Lant Pritchett and Stephan Klasen, and the exchange is summarised in a working paper by ODI’s Emma Samman. [MPI 2.0 leads poll on measuring poverty post-2015…]

Book co-authored by Foster and Seth enters World Bank top 50 downloads
A book co-authored by OPHI Research Associate Professor James Foster and Research Officer Suman Seth and published on 10 May 2013 has already become one of the top 50 most downloaded World Bank books of all time. Foster, who is Professor of Economics and International Affairs at The Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University, and OPHI’s Seth co-wrote ‘A Unified Approach to Measuring Poverty and Inequality: Theory and Practice’ with the World Bank’s Michael Lokshin and Zurab Sajaia. Part of the World Bank training series, ‘A Unified Approach’ is an introduction to the theory and practice of measuring poverty and inequality, and a guide to analyses that use the World Bank’s ADePT software. The book was launched in Oxford by Foster and Seth on 19 June 2013 (launch powerpoint here). [World Bank book co-authored by Foster and Seth…]

ESRC-NCRM training course on multidimensional poverty
The National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) organised a training course, ‘An Introduction to the Alkire Foster Method of Measuring Multidimensional Poverty’, in Oxford on 13-14 June 2013. The course was run by OPHI’s Director with research officers Dr Mauricio Apablaza and Dr Ana Vaz, and by the end participants were familiar with the arguments for the relevance of multidimensional poverty measures; understood why and how such measures add value to unidimensional measures and dashboards; and were able to compute Alkire Foster measures and adapt parameters to their own requirements and contexts. The NCRM is part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) strategy to improve the standards of research methods. [NCRM training course on multidimensional poverty…]

Alkire presents at fora including UN General Assembly’s Open Working Group on SDGs
On 18-19 March 2013, OPHI ran an executive education course on multidimensional poverty in Johannesburg for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a regional community of 15 Southern African states that cooperate in pursuit of politically stable, socially just and sustainable economic development in the region. Led by Sabina Alkire and OPHI Research Officer Mauricio Apablaza, the course gave participants an opportunity to discuss how to define a multidimensional poverty measure according to their own aims and national/regional contexts, and how to use it for policy design and monitoring. [SADC training course…]


OPHI-HDCA intensive Spanish-language training course in Nicaragua
Organised by OPHI and hosted at the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Managua, Nicaragua, this intensive training course, given in Spanish, runs from 30 August to 7 September 2013. It will provide a thorough conceptual and technical introduction to different techniques of measuring multidimensional poverty, with a strong emphasis on the Alkire Foster method, and will be led by OPHI’s Spanish-speaking members. The course immediately precedes the Annual Conference of the Human Development and Capabilities Association to be held in Managua 10-12 September 2013. Applications for this training course have now closed, but you can register for the HDCA Annual Conference here. [Spanish-language training course…]


Measuring Multidimensional Poverty: Insights from Around the World
To coincide with the launch of the Global Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (see item above), OPHI published a document of case studies describing how the Alkire Foster method of measuring multidimensional poverty has been adapted and applied at the national and subnational level. ‘Measuring Multidimensional Poverty: Insights from Around the World’ features case studies from Colombia, Mexico, Bhutan, China, El Salvador, Malaysia and Minas Gerais in Brazil, among others. You can download the document here. [Measuring Multidimensional Poverty brochure…]

OPHI special issue of Social Indicators Research published in full
A special issue of  Social Indicators Research  (Volume 112, Issue 2, June 2013), edited by OPHI Director Sabina Alkire and OPHI Research Associate Maria Emma Santos and featuring a number of articles by OPHI researchers, has been published in full online. The articles in ‘A Multidimensional Approach: Poverty Measurement and Beyond’ apply the Alkire Foster method of measuring multidimensional poverty to a range of contexts. They include a number of OPHI Working Papers, including Alkire and Suman Seth’s OPHI Working Paper 53, published as ‘Targeting Methods to Identify BPL Households in India’, and José Manuel Roche’s OPHI Working Paper 57‘Monitoring Progress in Child Poverty Reduction: Methodological Insights and Illustration to the Case Study of Bangladesh.’ The complete OPHI special issue of SIR is available to view here. [OPHI special issue of Social Indicators Research…]

Journal of Economic Inequality publishes paper by OPHI’s Suman Seth
OPHI Research Officer Suman Seth’s paper ‘A Class of Distribution and Association Sensitive Multidimensional Welfare Indices’ has been published in the Journal of Economic Inequality, Volume 11, Issue 2. The paper, originally published as OPHI Working Paper 27, develops a two-parameter class of welfare indices that is sensitive to two distinct forms of inter-personal inequality in the multidimensional framework. Most existing multidimensional welfare indices are either completely insensitive to inter-personal inequality or are only sensitive to the first, but the class of indices developed in this paper is sensitive to both forms of multidimensional inequality. You can read Seth’s paper in the JEI in full here. [JEI publishes paper by OPHI’s Seth…]


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

Mark McGillivray, Research Professor in International Development at the Alfred Deakin Research Institute of Deakin University, joins us as a Visiting Fellow over the summer to continue his work on rank robustness and redundancy.

Thomas Morgan, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Economics and Peace, joins us a Visiting Fellow. The IEP is responsible for the Global Peace Index, a measure of peace at the nation-state level, and Morgan will be analysing the cost of violence to the UK.

Kim Samuel We are delighted that our longstanding policy advisor, Kim Samuel, now joins us in person as Scholar in Residence and will be conducting research on isolation as a critical experiential and measurable component of multidimensional poverty.

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


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

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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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