This event was held on August 30, 2010
Poverty is multidimensional, and the Bank's work reflects the importance of addressing the different dimensions of poverty. But when talking about measurement, researchers and practitioners ask:
- Should we try to aggregate all the different dimensions of poverty in one single indicator?
- Is it possible to do it in a sensible and practical way? And if so,
- Does the aggregation in one indicator help in policy decision making?
This discussion has been around in academic circles for many years, and is now re-energized by the recent publication of a new Multidimensional Poverty Index by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, which will feature in this year’s UNDP's Human Development Report. To discuss theoretical and empirical aspects of multidimensional poverty measurement, the Poverty and Inequality Measurement and Analysis Practice Group (PIMA PG), co-sponsored by the Poverty Reduction and Equity Group and DEC Poverty and Inequality, held a workshop on August 30th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m..
Opening remarks were given by Jaime Saavedra (Acting Director, Poverty Reduction and Equity), who stressed the importance of monitoring poverty in a comprehensive way and the different vantage points from which the World Bank addresses poverty. He also highlighted the permanent challenges of measuring all of the dimensions of poverty and the value of learning and discussing new methodologies, experiences and recent applications. Finally he thanked the four invited speakers, James Foster (Professor of Economics and International Affairs at George Washington University), Sabina Alkire (Director of the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Intiative (OPHI), Oxford University & Research Associate for the Global Equity Initiative, Harvard University), Maria Emma Santos (OPHI, Oxford University and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnicas (CONICET) – Universidad Nacional del Sur, Argentina) and Gonzalo Hernandez (Head of the National Evaluation Commission CONEVAL (Mexico)).
"All of us agree that poverty is multifaceted, but the issue is how to improve data and methods for measuring the different dimensions of poverty in the way that is most informative and timely for policy decision making," said Jaime Saavedra, Acting Director for the PREM Poverty Reduction and Equity Department, which organized the event.
As a moderator for the first session, Tara Vishwanath (Lead Economist MENA Poverty) introduced Professor James Foster who gave a lecture on the theoretical foundations of a set of multidimensional poverty indicators.
Following Professor Foster’s technical discussion, Sabina Alkire and Maria Emma Santos presented their most recent OPHI paper, which consists of an application of the Multidimensional Poverty Measurement Methodology for a set of countries.
On the second session, Peter Lanjouw (Research Manager, Development Research Group Poverty and Inequality (DECPI) introduced Gonzalo Hernandez, who shared the methodological and institutional issues faced by his team in the construction of a multidimensional poverty indicator by CONEVAL in Mexico.
The workshop closed with a panel session where Gabriel Demombynes (Senior Economist Kenya Office – AFTP2), Samuel Freije (Senior Economist LCSPP), Rinku Murgai (Senior Economist Delhi Office – SASEP), Ruslan Yemtsov (Lead Economist HDNSP) and Nobuo Yoshida (Senior Economist PRMPR) shared their thoughts on conceptual issues or in country experiences they have had in the recent past.