Tracking Poverty Reduction in Bhutan: Income Deprivation Alongside Deprivation in Other Sources of Happiness
- 1.1k Downloads
This paper analyses poverty reduction in Bhutan between two points in time—2003 and 2007—from a multidimensional perspective. The measures estimated include consumption expenditure as well as other indicators which are directly (when possible) or indirectly associated to valuable functionings, namely, health, education, access to electricity, safe water, improved sanitation, enough room per person in dwelling, access to roads and land ownership. Interestingly, most of these indicators have been identified as sources of happiness in the 2007 Gross National Happiness Survey. Twelve different measures are estimated with a variety of values for the different parameters involved for robustness analysis. Also, estimates are bootstrapped creating 95 % confidence intervals. We find that over the study period there was an unambiguous reduction in multidimensional poverty regardless of the indicators’ weights, deprivation cutoffs and identification criterion of the poor. This reduction was mainly led by a reduction in the proportion of the poor which was accompanied by a reduction in the intensity of poverty among those who were less intensively poor, although not among those who were more intensively poor. Rather than accomplishing this poverty reduction by improving achievements in one or two indicators, there were significant reductions in several deprivations, especially in access to roads, electricity, water, sanitation, and education. We also find that when income alone is used to target the poor, inclusion errors are marginal but exclusion errors are sizeable. Despite Bhutan’s significant progress, challenges remain as poverty is still high in rural areas. A multidimensional measure in the lines proposed in this paper can prove useful for monitoring poverty reduction, prioritizing groups and evaluating upon investment.
KeywordsMultidimensional poverty measurement Counting approach Happiness South Asia MDGs Bhutan
I am grateful for valuable comments and suggestions from Sabina Alkire, two anonymous referees and participants of the OPHI workshop on “Dynamic Comparison between Multidimensional Poverty and Monetary Poverty” in November 2012. I also thank ANPCyT-PICT 1888 for research support.
- Alkire, S., & Foster, J. E. (2007). Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement. OPHI Working Paper 07, Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative.Google Scholar
- Alkire, S., Roche, J. M., Santos, M. E., & Seth, S. (2011). Multidimensional poverty index: 2011 data. Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. Ophi.qeh.ox.ac.uk.Google Scholar
- Alkire, S., & Santos, M. E. (2010). Acute multidimensional poverty: A new index for developing countries. OPHI Working Paper Series, 38. Google Scholar
- Alkire, S., & Santos, M. E. (2013a). A multidimensional approach: Poverty measurement & beyond. Introduction to this Special Issue. Social Indicators Research. doi: 10.1007/s11205-013-0257-3.
- Alkire, S., & Santos, M. E. (2013b). Measuring acute poverty in the developing world: Robustness and scope of the multidimensional poverty index. OPHI Working Paper 59. Available at http://www.ophi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/ophi-wp-59.pdf.
- 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.
- Azevedo, V., & Robles, M. (2013). Multidimensional targeting: Identifying beneficiaries of conditional cash transfer programs. Social Indicators Research. doi: 10.1007/s11205-013-0255-5.
- Bhutan Observer (BO) Focus. (2010). MDGs: Where are we? Vol. III. Issue IX. September, 2010. http://www.undp.org.bt/assets/files/mdg/BO_focus%20_MDG.pdf.
- Fleurbaey, M., Schokkaert, E., & Decanq, K. (2009). What good is happiness? ECORE Discussion Paper, 2009/38.Google Scholar
- Haisken-DeNew, J. P., & Sinning, M. (2007). Social deprivation and exclusion of immigrants in Germany. IZA Discussion Paper Series 3153.Google Scholar
- Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Censos (Argentina) INDEC (2003) Censo 2001. Aquí se cuenta. Mapa de Necesidades Básicas Insatisfechas 2001. http://www.indec.mecon.gov.ar/.
- National Statistics Bureau (NSB). (2003). Bhutan living standard survey report. Royal Government of Bhutan.Google Scholar
- National Statistics Bureau (NSB). (2004). Poverty analysis report 2004. Royal Government of Bhutan (RGB).Google Scholar
- National Statistics Bureau (NSB). (2007a). Bhutan living standard survey report. Royal Government of Bhutan.Google Scholar
- National Statistics Bureau (NSB). (2007b). Poverty analysis report 2007. Royal Government of Bhutan.Google Scholar
- Office of the Census Commissioner. (2005). Results of population & housing census of Bhutan 2005.Google Scholar
- Royal Government of Bhutan (RGB). (2005a). Millennium development goals progress report 2005.Google Scholar
- Royal Government of Bhutan (RGB). (2005b). Bhutan national human development report 2005.Google Scholar
- Royal Government of Bhutan (RGB). (2005c). Office of the census commissioner. Results of population and housing census of Bhutan 2005. http://www.bhutancensus.gov.bt.
- Rugeri Laderchi, C., Saith, R., & Stewart, F. (2003). Does it matter that we do not agree on the definition of poverty? A comparison of four approaches. Oxford Development Studies, 31, 244–274.Google Scholar
- Santos, M. E., & Ura, K. (2008). Multidimensional poverty in Bhutan: Estimates and policy implications. OPHI Working Paper No 14.Google Scholar
- Sen, A. (1985). Commodities and capabilities. Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
- Sen, A. (1999). Development as freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- UNDP. (2011). Human development report 2011. Sustainability and equity: A better future for all. Google Scholar
- UNHabitat. (2006). State of the World’s cities 2006/7. Slums: Overcrowding or ‘the hidden homeless’. http://www.unhabitat.org/documents/media_centre/sowcr2006/SOWCR%206.pdf.
- United Nations Development Program. (2003). Indicators for monitoring millennium development goals. New York: UNDP.Google Scholar
- Ura, K., Alkire, S., & Zangmo, T. (2012). Bhutan’s gross national happiness index 2010. The centre for Bhutan studies (In press). www.grossnationalhappiness.com.ophi.qeh.ox.ac.uk.
- Ura, K., Alkire, S., Zangmo, T., & Wangdi, K. (2012). A short guide to gross national happiness index. The centre for Bhutan studies. http://www.ophi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Ura-etal-Bhutan-Happiness-Chapter.pdf?cda6c1.
- World Bank. (2012). World development indicators online (WDI) database. Accessed Sept 2012.Google Scholar