Social Indicators Research

, Volume 112, Issue 2, pp 391–416 | Cite as

The Multidimensionality of Child Poverty: Evidence from Afghanistan

  • Jean-Francois Trani
  • Mario Biggeri
  • Vincenzo Mauro
Article

Abstract

This paper examines multidimensional poverty among children in Afghanistan using the Alkire-Foster method. Several previous studies have underlined the need to separate children from their adult nexus when studying poverty and treat them according to their own specificities. From the capability approach, child poverty is understood to be the lack of freedom to do and to be what children themselves value and have reason to value. The case of Afghanistan is particularly relevant as years of conflict aggravated by several severe droughts, political insecurity, bad governance and ongoing violence have significantly increased poverty in the country. The paper discusses the relevant dimensions when analysing child poverty and uses data from a survey carried out by Handicap International which contains information on dimensions of children’s wellbeing that is typically missing in standard surveys. Ten dimension are considered in this paper: health, care and love, material deprivation, food security, social inclusion, education, freedom from economic and non-economic exploitation, shelter and environment, autonomy, and mobility. Our results show that younger children, those living in rural areas, girls and disabled children are the most deprived.

Keywords

Multidimensional poverty measurement Capability approach Children 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge the European Commission, UNOPS/UNDP UNMAS (Volunteer Trust Fund), Ambassade de France en Afghanistan, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Handicap International for funding the National Disability Survey in Afghanistan research project. They benefited hugely from the comments of the participants of the OPHI Workshop on Multidimensional Measures in Six Contexts (Oxford, 1–2 June 2009), IX ISQOLS Conference (Florence, 19–23 July 2009) and HDCA Annual Conference (Lima, 10–12 September 2009). In particular they are grateful for the comments of Sabina Alkire, Masood Awan, Conchita D’Ambrosio, James Foster, Rozana Himaz, Filomena Maggino, Jose Manuel Roche, Maria Emma Santos and Sarah Valenti. They are also grateful to Parul Bakhshi and Ellie Cole for useful comments on drafts of this paper. They also want to warmly thank the 5,130 families of Afghanistan who kindly received interviewers and answered their questions. They retain responsibility for the opinions expressed in the paper.

References

  1. Abegunde, D., Mathers, C., Adam, T., Ortegon, M., & Strong, K. (2007). The burden and costs of chronic diseases in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet, 370, 1929–1938.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alkire, S. (2008). Choosing dimensions: The capability approach and multidimensional poverty. In N. Kakwani & J. Silber (Eds.), The many dimensions of poverty. New York: Palgrave/Macmillan.Google Scholar
  3. Alkire, S., & Foster, J. E. (2009). Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement. Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, OPHI Working Paper no. 7.5.Google Scholar
  4. Alkire, S., & Foster, J. (2011). Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement. Journal of Public Economics, 95, 476.Google Scholar
  5. Alkire, S., & Seth, S. (2013). Selecting a targeting method to identify BPL households in India. Social Indicators Research. doi:10.1007/s11205-013-0254-6.
  6. Allan, N. (2003) Rethinking governance in Afghanistan. Journal of International Affairs, 56(1), 193–202.Google Scholar
  7. Asian Foundation. (2010). Afghanistan in 2010: A survey of the Afghan People. http://asiafoundation.org/publications/pdf/797.
  8. Bakhshi, P., Trani, J. F., & Rolland, C. (2006). Conducting surveys on disability a comprehensive toolkit. Lyon, France: Handicap International. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/silva/lc-ccr/lccstaff/jean-francois-trani/lccstaff/jean-francois-trani/TOOLKITREPORT1.pdf. Accessed May 5, 2009.
  9. Bakhshi, P., & Trani, J. F. (2006). Towards inclusion and equality in education? From assumptions to facts. Lyon, France: Handicap International. http://ochaonline.un.org/OCHALinkclick.aspx?link=ocha&docid=1164057. Accessed May 5, 2009.
  10. Bartlett, L. A., Mawji, S., Whitehead, S., Crouse, C., Dalil, S., Ionete, D., et al. (2005). Where giving birth is a forecast of death: Maternal mortality in four districts of Afghanistan, 1999–2002. Lancet, 365, 864–870.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Beall, J., & Schutte, S. (2006). Urban livelihood in Afghanistan, synthesis paper series. Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/2902/1/Urban_livelihoods_in_Afghanistan.pdf. Accessed May 25, 2009.
  12. Ben-Arieh, A. (2008). The child indicators movement: Past, present, and future. Child Indicators Research, 1, 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bhutta, Z. A. (2002). Children of War: The real casualties of the Afghan Conflict. British Medical Journal, 324, 324–350.Google Scholar
  14. Biggeri, M., & Anich, R. (2009). The deprivation of street children in Kampala: Can the capability approach and participatory methods unlock a new perspective in research & decision making? Mondes en Developpement, 37(2), 146.Google Scholar
  15. Biggeri, M., Libanora, R., Mariani, S., & Menchini, L. (2006). Children conceptualizing their capabilities: Results of the survey during the first children’s world congress on child labour. Journal of Human Development, 7(1), 59–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Biggeri, M., & Libanora, R. (2011). From valuing to evaluating: Tools and procedures to operationalise the capability approach. In M. Biggeri, J. Ballet & F. Comim (Eds.), Children and the capability approach (Chap. 4). New York: Palgrave/Macmillan.Google Scholar
  17. Biggeri, M., & Mehrotra, R. (2011). Child poverty as capability deprivation: How to choose dimensions of child wellbeing and poverty? In M. Biggeri, J. Ballet, F. Comim (Eds.), Children and the capability approach (Chap. 3). New York: Palgrave/Macmillan.Google Scholar
  18. Boyden, J. (2006). Young lives project: Concepts and analytical framework. UK: Young Lives.Google Scholar
  19. Bradshaw, J. P., Hoelscher, P., & Richardson, D. (2006). An index of child well-being in the European Union. Social Indicators Research, 80(1), 133–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Camfield, L. (2006). Why and how of understanding ‘subjective’ well-being: Exploratory work by the WeD group in four developing countries. WeD Working Paper 26.Google Scholar
  21. Camfield, L., Streuli, N., & Woodhead, M. (2009). What’s the use of ‘well-being’ in contexts of child poverty? Approaches to research, monitoring and children’s participation. International Journal of Children’s Rights, 17, 65–109.Google Scholar
  22. Corak, M. (2006). Principles and practicalities for measuring child poverty. International Social Security Review, 29(2), 3–36.Google Scholar
  23. Donini, A. (2007). Local perceptions of assistance to Afghanistan. International Peacekeeping, 1(14), 158–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Feeny, T., & Boyden, J. (2003). Children and poverty: A review of contemporary literature and thought on children and poverty. Richmond, VA: Christian Children’s Fund.Google Scholar
  25. Ghobadi, N., Koettl, J., & Vakis, R. (2005). Moving out of poverty: Migration insights from rural Afghanistan. Kabul: Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit.Google Scholar
  26. Goodhand, J. (2002) Aiding violence or building peace? The role of international aid in Afghanistan. Third World Quarterly 23(5), 837–859.Google Scholar
  27. Gordon, D., Nandy, S., Pantazis, C., Pemberton, S., & Townsend, P. (2003). Child poverty in the developing world. New York: UNICEF.Google Scholar
  28. Gwatkin, D., Bhuiya, A., & Victora, C. (2004). Making health systems more equitable. Lancet, 364, 1273–1280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hunte, P. (2009). Beyond poverty: Factors influencing decisions to use child labour in rural and urban Afghanistan. Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, Synthesis Paper Series.Google Scholar
  30. Johnecheck, A., & Holland, D. E. (2007). Nutritional status in postconflict Afghanistan: Evidence from the national surveillance system pilot and national risk and vulnerability assessment. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 1(28), 3–17.Google Scholar
  31. Jonsson, U. (2003). Human rights approach to development programming. Nairobi: UNICEF.Google Scholar
  32. Land, K. C., Lamb, V. L., & Mustillo, S. K. (2001). Child and youth well-being in the United States, 1975–1998: Some findings from a new index. Social Indicators Research, 56, 241–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Land, K. C., Lamb, V. L., Meadows, S. O., & Taylor, A. (2007). Measuring trends in child well-being: An evidence-based approach. Social Indicators Research, 80(1), 105–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mehrotra, S. (2006). Child poverty. In D. A. Clark (Ed.), The Elgar companion to development studies. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.Google Scholar
  35. Ministry of Education. (2008). National education strategic plan for Afghanistan 1385–1389. Kabul: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  36. Minujin, A., & Delamonica, E. E. (2005). Incidence, depth and severity of children in poverty. Working paper, Division of Policy and Planning. New York: UNICEF.Google Scholar
  37. Minujin, A., Delamonica, E. E., Davidziuk, A., & Gonzalez, E. D. (2006). The definition of child poverty: A discussion of concepts and measurements. Environment and Urbanization, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), 18(2), 481–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Moser, C., & Norton, A. (2001). To claim our rights: Livelihoods security, human rights and sustainable development. London: ODI.Google Scholar
  39. Nussbaum, M. (2000). Women and human development: The capabilities approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Nussbaum, M. (2003). Capabilities as fundamental entitlements: Sen and social justice. Feminist Economics, 9(2–3), 33–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Panter-Brick, C., Eggerman, M., Mojadidi, A., & Mcdade, T. W. (2008). Social stressors, mental health, and physiological stress in an urban elite of young Afghans in Kabul. American Journal of Human Biology, 20, 627–641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Robeyns, I. (2003a). Sen’s capability approach and gender inequality: Selecting relevant capabilities. Feminist Economics, 9(2–3), 61–92.Google Scholar
  43. Robeyns, I. (2003b). The capability approach: An interdisciplinary introduction. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  44. Robeyns, I. (2006). Three models of education: Rights, capabilities and human capital. Theory and Research in Education, 4(1), 69–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Roelen, K., & Gassmann, F. (2008). Measuring child poverty and well-being: A literature review. MPRA Paper, no. 8981.Google Scholar
  46. Rostami-Povey, E. (2007). Afghan women, identity and invasion. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  47. Rousseau, S. (2001). Capabilites, risques et vulnerabilites. In J.-L. Dubois, J.-P. Lachaud, J.-M. Montaud & A. Pouille (Eds.), Pauvrete et developpement socialement durable (pp. 11–22). Bordeaux: Presse Universtaire de Bordeaux.Google Scholar
  48. Save the Children. (2008). The child development index: Holding governments to account for children’s wellbeing. London: Save the Children.Google Scholar
  49. Sen, A. K. (1992). Inequality reexamined. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Sen, A. K. (1999). Development as Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Sen, A. K. (2004a). Capabilities, lists, and public reason: Continuing the conversation. Feminist Economics, 10, 77–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sen, A. K. (2004b). Elements of a theory of human rights. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 32(4), 315–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Stockton, N.J. (2002) The failure of international humanitarian action in Afghanistan. Global Governance 8(3), 265–271.Google Scholar
  54. Suhrcke, M., Nugent, R. A., Stuckler, D., & Rocco, L. (2006). Chronic disease: An economic perspective. London: The Oxford Health Alliance.Google Scholar
  55. Trani, J. F. (2009). Screening children for disabilities. The Lancet, 374(28), 1806–1807.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Trani, J. F., Bakhshi, P. (2006). Understanding the challenge ahead. The national disability survey in afghanistan executive summary. Lyon, France: Handicap International.Google Scholar
  57. Trani, J. F., Bakhshi, P., & Dubois, J. L. (2006). Understanding vulnerability of Afghans with disability, livelihoods, employment, income. Lyon, France: Handicap International.Google Scholar
  58. Trani, J. F., & Bakhshi, P. (2007). Livelihood and employment of women with disability in afghanistan: Empowerment of women, a new idea changing Afghan history? Paper presented at the 7th international conference of the capabilities approach, 16th-20th September 2007, New School, New York.Google Scholar
  59. Trani, J. F., Bakhshi, P., Noor, A., & Mashkoor, A. (2009). Building a disability strategy in Afghanistan: A capabilities approach to research challenges and policy implications. European Journal of Development Research, 21(2), 297–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Trani, J. F., Bakhshi, P., Noor, A., Mashkoor, A., & Lopez, D. (2010). Poverty, vulnerability, and provision of healthcare in Afghanistan. Social Science and Medicine (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  61. Trani, J. F., Bakhshi, P., & Nandipati, A. (2012). Delivering education; Maintaining inequality. The case of children with disabilities in afghanistan. Cambridge Journal of Education, 21, 141–163.Google Scholar
  62. UNDP. (2007). Human development report: Fighting climate change. New York: United Nations Publications. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_20072008_EN_Complete.pdf.
  63. UNESCO. (1990). The world declaration on education for all. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  64. UNICEF. (2004). State of the world’s children 2005: Childhood under threat. New York: UNICEF.Google Scholar
  65. UNICEF. (2005a). Child poverty in rich countries. Innocenti Report Card no. 6. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.Google Scholar
  66. UNICEF. (2005b). The proportion of children living in poverty has risen in a majority of the world’s developed economies. Innocenti report on Child Poverty in Rich Countries Card no. 6. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.Google Scholar
  67. UNICEF. (2007). Child poverty in perspective: An overview of child well-being in rich countries. Innocenti Report Card no. 7. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.Google Scholar
  68. Vulnerability Analysis Unit and Central Statistics Organisation. (2007). National risk and vulnerability assessment 2007/8: A profile of Afghanistan. Kabul: Jehoon Printing Press.Google Scholar
  69. White, H., Leavy, J., & Masters, A. (2002). Comparative perspectives on child poverty: A review of poverty measures. Working paper, no. 1. Oxford: Young Lives.Google Scholar
  70. World Food Programme and Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development. (2004). Reports on findings from the 2003 National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (NRVA) in Rural Afghanistan. http://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/ena/wfp193558.pdf.
  71. World Health Organization. (2001). International classification of functioning, disability and health. Geneva: WHO.Google Scholar
  72. Young Lives. (2001). Summary of the young lives conceptual framework, from http://www.younglives.org.uk.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Francois Trani
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mario Biggeri
    • 3
  • Vincenzo Mauro
    • 3
  1. 1.Brown School of Social WorkWashington University in St LouisSt LouisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Leonard Cheshire Center for Inclusive Development and DisabilityUniversity College of LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

Personalised recommendations