Multidimensional measures provide an alternative lens through which poverty may be viewed and understood. In recent work the authors have attempted to offer a practical approach to identifying the poor and measuring aggregate poverty (Alkire and Foster, J Public Econ, 2011). As this is quite a departure from traditional unidimensional and multidimensional poverty measurement—particularly with respect to the identification step—further elaboration may be warranted. In this paper the authors elucidate the strengths, limitations, and misunderstandings of multidimensional poverty measurement in order to clarify the debate and catalyse further research. They begin with general definitions of unidimensional and multidimensional methodologies for measuring poverty. They provide an intuitive description of our measurement approach, including a ‘dual cutoff’ identification step that views poverty as the state of being multiply deprived, and an aggregation step based on the traditional FGT measures. The then briefly discuss five characteristics of the methodology that are easily overlooked or mistaken and conclude with some brief remarks on the way forward.
Alkire, S.; Foster, J. Understandings and misunderstandings of multidimensional poverty measurement. The Journal of Economic Inequality (2011) 9 (2) 289-314. [DOI: 10.1007/s10888-011-9181-4]