Social Indicators Research

, Volume 126, Issue 2, pp 483–502 | Cite as

A Different Perspective on Poverty in Lao PDR: Multidimensional Poverty in Lao PDR for the Years 2002/2003 and 2007/2008

  • Christoph BaderEmail author
  • Sabin Bieri
  • Urs Wiesmann
  • Andreas Heinimann


This paper presents an indicator for measuring multidimensional poverty in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic applying the Alkire–Foster methodology to the Lao Expenditure and Consumption Survey 2002/2003 and 2007/2008. We calculated a multidimensional poverty index (MPI) that includes three dimensions: education, health, and standard of living. Making use of the MPI’s decomposability, we analyse how much each of the different dimensions and its respective indicators contribute to the overall MPI. We find a marked reduction in the multidimensional poverty headcount ratio over the study period, regardless of how the indicators are weighted or how the deprivation and poverty cut-offs are set. This reduction is based on improvements regarding all indicators except cooking fuel and nutrition. We observe no significant reduction in the intensity of poverty, however; there are wide disparities between the country’s regions and between urban and rural areas. The proportion of poor people in rural areas is more than twice as high as that in urban areas. By complementing the traditional income-based poverty measure, we hope to provide useful information that can support knowledge-based decision-making for poverty alleviation.


Multidimensional poverty Poverty measurement Lao PDR LECS 



We acknowledge support from R4D FATE, co-funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Switzerland, as well as from the SDC-funded Lao DECIDE Info project. The authors also wish to thank the Lao Statistics Bureau (LSB) for providing the LECS 2002/2003 and 2007/2008.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph Bader
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sabin Bieri
    • 1
  • Urs Wiesmann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andreas Heinimann
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)University of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of GeographyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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