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The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty

Abstract

Many authors have insisted on the necessity of defining poverty as a multidimensional concept rather than relying on income or consumption expenditures per capita. Yet, not much has actually been done to include the various dimensions of deprivation into the practical definition and measurement of poverty. Existing attempts along that direction consist of aggregating various attributes into a single index through some arbitrary function and defining a poverty line and associated poverty measures on the basis of that index. This is merely redefining more generally the concept of poverty, which then essentially remains a one dimensional concept. The present paper suggests that an alternative way to take into account the multi-dimensionality of poverty is to specify a poverty line for each dimension of poverty and to consider that a person is poor if he/she falls below at least one of these various lines. The paper then explores how to combine these various poverty lines and associated one-dimensional gaps into multidimensional poverty measures. An application of these measures to the rural population in Brazil is also given with poverty defined on income and education.

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Bourguignon, F., Chakravarty, S.R. The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty. The Journal of Economic Inequality 1, 25–49 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023913831342

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023913831342

  • multidimensional
  • poverty measure