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March 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:


Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2013 findings released
On March 18, OPHI released its analyses of this year’s global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), following the publication of the MPI in UNDP’s Human Development Report 2013. Our findings spanned a number of topics (see ‘Global MPI 2013: Briefings and Methodological Note’, below) and attracted media coverage around the world, in publications ranging from the Economist to the Times of India, News of Rwanda to OECD Insights. In addition to the briefings detailed below, we published individual MPI profiles of 104 developing countries; MPI data on all of these countries, plus subnational breakdowns for 65 of them and changes to MPI poverty for 22; interactive maps showing how poverty differs between and within countries; and a number of podcasts explaining this year’s key findings. For all this and much more, please see the MPI 2013 section on our website.
[MPI 2013…]

OPHI announces Amartya Sen’s lecture and policy network launch, 6 June 2013
OPHI is delighted to announce that we will be hosting a Distinguished Public Lecture by Amartya Sen, Nobel laureate in Economics and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. The lecture, entitled ‘Discovery of Women’, will be given at 5pm on 6 June in Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre. The lecture will be chaired by the Rt Hon Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of the University, and is free and open to the public, although you will be wise to come early to get a seat. On the same day, alongside policymakers from around the world, OPHI will launch an international peer network that will provide technical and policy support to those engaged in constructing multidimensional poverty measures, as well as mutual input into design and institutional arrangements. [Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network…]

OPHI special issue of Social Indicators Research is published online
OPHI’s Director Sabina Alkire and Research Associate Maria Emma Santos are the guest editors of a special issue of Social Indicators Research (SIR) called ‘A Multidimensional Approach: Poverty Measurement and Beyond’. The issue comprises nine papers that apply the Alkire Foster methodology to different topics and contexts, including child poverty, targeting, and women’s poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. [SIR special issue…]

Alkire and Sumner call for an MPI 2.0 for the post-2015 development agenda
‘Multidimensional Poverty and the Post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)’, a briefing written by Sabina Alkire and OPHI Research Associate Andy Sumner, Co-Director of the King’s International Development Institute at King’s College London, makes the case for a global MPI 2.0, which could provide an intuitive overview of multidimensional poverty to complement a $1.25/day measure. It would reflect participatory inputs, and could be easily disaggregated to enable policymakers to see at a glance whether and how multidimensional poverty was being reduced across states, for example, or different social groups. ‘At last, a sensible suggestion for post-2015,’ blogged Duncan Green in response. (See also James Foster’s splendid video, below.) [Read the briefing…]

The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index celebrates its first anniversary
The Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), a ground-breaking tool to measure the empowerment, agency and inclusion of women in the agriculture sector, is celebrating its first anniversary. Developed by OPHI, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the WEAI has created widespread interest in the development community, and a number of materials have been produced to support its use, including audio and video teaching files, a brochure and a working paper (see ‘Working Paper 58’, below). In the year since its launch, data have been collected in 16 countries, enabling the calculation of baseline values for the WEAI so that change can be monitored in future.
Find out more about the WEAI…]

James Foster makes acclaimed call for a post-2015 MPI at CSAE Conference
James Foster, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at The Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University, has called for the adoption of a multidimensional measure post-2015 which can identify and prioritise households with overlapping deprivations. Foster, who is an OPHI Research Associate, made the call in an acclaimed presentation at a keynote session of the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) Conference in Oxford from 17-19 March. OPHI Research Officer Suman Seth also presented at the conference, on ‘Analysis of Inequality across the Multidimensionally Poor and across Population Subgroups for Counting Approaches’. [James Foster presentation…]

Hammock promotes OPHI’s multidimensional approach in Latin America
OPHI Research Associate John Hammock presented the Alkire Foster counting approach to multidimensional poverty measurement in the Dominican Republic and Brazil this month. Accompanied by UNDP, Hammock met the Vice-President of the Dominican Republic, Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, as well as high-level policymakers from the National Office of Statistics, the Ministry of Economics, Planning and Development, and ‘Progressing with Solidarity’, a government anti-poverty programme. Hammock also presented at a day-long workshop on multidimensional poverty in Brasilia, which was sponsored by UNDP and attended by representatives of nine State Governments of Brazil and a number of Federal Government agencies. The workshop also heard talks on existing applications of the Alkire Foster approach in Minas Gerais and Sao Paolo, and by an NGO in Rio de Janeiro. [Hammock trip…]

OPHI runs course on multidimensional poverty for SADC in Johannesburg
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 input to UNICEF multidimensional child poverty measurement course
From 9-14 March, UNICEF's regional office in Cairo hosted a training course on 'Child Poverty and Disparity Measurement and Analysis', run jointly by UNICEF with OPHI, Laval University's Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP) network and the International Development Research Centre's (IDRC) Middle East and North Africa (MENA) office. Led by Professor Jean-Yves Duclos from Laval University and OPHI Research Officers Paola Ballon and José Manuel Roche among others, the course provided technical experts from governments across the region with an in-depth overview of the conceptual and methodological aspects of measuring child poverty, using both monetary and multidimensional approaches. [Cairo 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 rather than English, 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 research team. The course immediately precedes the Annual Conference of the Human Development and Capabilities Association to be held in Managua 10-12 September 2013. For further details in Spanish, including how to apply, see our website. Applications for OPHI’s July School in Washington D.C. have now closed. [Spanish-language training course…]

NCRM training course on multidimensional poverty measurement
The National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) has organised a two-day training course, ‘An Introduction to the Alkire Foster Method of Measuring Multidimensional Poverty’, which will be run by OPHI in Oxford on 13-14 June 2013. At the end of the course, participants will know the arguments for the relevance of multidimensional poverty measures; understand why and how such measures add value to unidimensional measures and dashboards; and be 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…]


Global MPI 2013: Briefings and Methodological Note
We published a number of briefings on our analyses of the global MPI 2013 this month. ‘The Global MPI 2013’ provides an overview of poverty distribution and disparities and a summary of our other findings; ‘How Multidimensional Poverty went down’ looks at the dynamics of poverty reduction and compares the experiences of 22 countries; ‘Identifying the ‘Bottom Billion’ uses the MPI to go beyond national averages and identify the world’s poorest billion people; and ‘Multidimensional Poverty Reduction in India 1999-2006’ looks at how progress has varied across states and social groups. You can find all these and more, including ‘A Brief Methodological Note’ outlining changes and clarifications to the MPI this year, in the MPI Resources section of our website. [MPI Resources…]

Working Paper 57: Monitoring Progress in Child Poverty Reduction
Important steps have been taken at international summits to set up goals and targets to improve the wellbeing of children. Now the world also has more and better data to monitor progress. ‘Monitoring Progress in Child Poverty Reduction: Methodological Insights and Illustration to the Case Study of Bangladesh’, by OPHI Research Officer José Manuel Roche, presents a new approach based on the Alkire Foster method and an array of complementary techniques. [Working Paper 57…]

Working Paper 58: The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI)
Launched one year ago, the WEAI is a survey-based index designed to measure the empowerment, agency, and inclusion of women in the agricultural sector. This technical paper documents the development of the WEAI by OPHI, USAID and IFPRI, and presents pilot data from Bangladesh, Guatemala, and Uganda, so that researchers and practitioners seeking to use the index in their own work would understand how the survey questionnaires were developed and piloted; how the qualitative case studies were undertaken; how the index was constructed; how various indicators were validated; and how it can be used in other settings. [Working Paper 58…]

Working Paper 59: Measuring Acute Poverty in the Developing World
Written by OPHI’s Director Sabina Alkire and Research Associate Maria Emma Santos, ‘Measuring Acute Poverty in the Developing World: Robustness and Scope of the Multidimensional Poverty Index’ presents the MPI 2010 results with a serious set of updated robustness tests ranging from bootstrapping, to analyses of household composition, to restricted dominance tests. [Working Paper 59…]

Working Paper 60: Multidimensional Poverty Reduction in India 1999-2006
India has witnessed high economic growth since the 1980s, and a reduction in the share of income poor - though the measured extent of this reduction varies - has been confirmed by different methods. This paper presents an in-depth country analysis of changes in MPI – by caste, religion, education, gender, and region. Written by OPHI’s Director Sabina Alkire and Research Officer Suman Seth, it has some surprises for India, and illustrates how country-level analyses of changes in multidimensional poverty can proceed. [Working Paper 60…]

Working Paper 61: Where do the World’s Multidimensionally Poor People Live?
This paper by Sabina Alkire, José Manuel Roche and Andy Sumner considers how the global distribution of multidimensional poverty differs from the global distribution of income poverty, and assesses the sensitivity of findings to widely used (although somewhat arbitrary) country classifications. Surprisingly perhaps, only a quarter of multidimensionally poor people and just a third of severely multidimensionally poor people live in the world’s poorest countries – meaning Low Income Countries or Least Developed Countries. The paper shows that there is a split of the distribution of poverty between both stable Middle Income Countries and low-income fragile states. [Working Paper 61…]


OPHI invites applications for Senior Research Officer position
We are seeking a more senior researcher who can play a central role in OPHI’s leadership, policy outreach, and management. The successful candidate will have extensive research experience relevant to multidimensional poverty in developing countries. He or she must also have relevant research management experience, excellent interpersonal skills, and a strongly collaborative approach to work. The deadline for applications is 12.00 noon GMT on Wednesday 17 April 2013. [Senior Research Officer post…] ophi-seeking-senior-research-officer

New Researcher appointed to work on Social Isolation
OPHI has appointed a new researcher to work on social isolation as part of our Missing Dimensions programme. China Mills recently completed her PhD in ‘Globalising Disorders: Encounters with Psychiatry in India’ at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has carried out extensive research into the social determinants of mental health globally, has published widely, and has been a visiting lecturer at a number of universities. Mills will work with OPHI’s Research Officer Diego Zavaleta and Scholar in Residence Kim Samuel. [New Researcher…]

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

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.


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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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