Measuring Human Recognition for Women in Malawi using the Alkire Foster Method of Multidimensional Poverty Counting

  • Ebelechukwu MaduekweEmail author
  • Walter Timo de Vries
  • Gertrud Buchenrieder
Original Research


Policy indicators rarely account for the contribution of societal inter- and intra-personal interactions to economic development. We propose an index of multidimensional Human Recognition Deprivation (HRD), which measures to what extent individuals (e.g., women) are viewed and valued as human beings. Based on Castleman’s Theory of Human Recognition and Economic Development, we employ the Alkire-Foster method of multidimensional poverty counting to construct a HRD index. The Index is based on indicators of humiliation, dehumanization, violence, and lack of autonomy within three domains of interaction namely: the self, household, and community domains. Similar to multidimensional poverty, we extract the deprivation headcount ratio, deprivation intensity, and the overall deprivation index. The Alkire-Foster method allows us to identify human recognition deprivation within and across domains of interaction. The methodology has a range of robust properties including decomposing by domains and sub-groups (e.g., female farmers and off-farm women). As a policy tool, it allows policy investigators to set different domain cut-offs and weights to identify crucial policy fields and populations for intervention. We develop the index for women using data from Malawi.


Human recognition Violence Malawi Gender equality Multidimensional measurement 

JEL Classification

D01 D10 D91 O11 O43 O55 Q01 Q10 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Castleman and the participants of the 30th International Conference of Agricultural Economists: Gender Visual Contribution for their insightful comments.


The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chair of Land ManagementTechnical University of MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Sociology and EconomicsUniversität der Bundeswehr MünchenD-85579 NeubibergGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Agricultural and Nutrition SciencesMartin-Luther-University Halle-WittenbergHalle (Saale)Germany

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