Changes over time in the global Multidimensional Poverty Index

This seminar is organised jointly with the Institute for International Economic Policy at George Washington University and the UNDP Human Development Report Office.

The event will take place on WebEx, to register visit:

Paper description:
This paper provides a highly visual, intuitive yet systematic assessment of trends in the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) over time across 80 countries and five billion people in developing regions. The analysis draws on data from 2000-2019, to document how the MPI, incidence and intensity of poverty has changed in these countries, and what indicators drove that change. Such a systematic review is an essential step towards clarifying the Sustainable Development Goal’s (SDGs) Target 1.2 to halve the proportion of people who are poor in many dimensions, and furthers the call for consistent, high quality, timely, and policy-relevant data on the interlinked deprivations that people living in multidimensional poverty endure.
In a novel step, the paper also compares trends across multiple national and international poverty measures. We advance Sir Tony Atkinson’s work on global poverty trends which emphasized the need for triangulation of poverty trends by different measurement approaches to provide a better understanding of, and policy response to, poverty. In particular, we graphically track trends in the incidence of multidimensional poverty according to global and national measures, as well as to national and international monetary poverty lines, to provide a more complete picture of changes in poverty over a particular period for each of the 80 countries.

About the Presenter:
Sabina Alkire directs the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI). She is the Associate Professor of Development Studies in the Oxford Department of International Development at the University of Oxford. Her research interests include multidimensional poverty measurement and analysis, welfare economics, the capability approach, the measurement of freedoms and human development. From 2015–16, Sabina was Oliver T Carr Professor of International Affairs and Professor of Economics at George Washington University. Previously, she worked at the Global Equity Initiative at Harvard University, the Human Security Commission, and the World Bank’s Poverty and Culture Learning and Research Initiative. She holds a DPhil in Economics from the University of Oxford.

About the discussants:
Jaya Krishnakumar is a full professor of Econometrics at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. She is also a Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and Madras School of Economics, Chennai, India. Her research interests include panel data econometrics, multivariate models with latent variables and quantitative methods for multi-dimensional well-being analysis. She has publications in leading international econometrics/economics journals for example in Econometric Theory, Journal of Econometrics, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Public Economics, European Economic Review, Health Economics, and World Development. She has also edited and contributed chapters in books in Econometrics and on the Capability Approach. She is a member of the Advisory Panel for the Human Development Reports of the UNDP, and a Fellow of the Human Development and Capabilities Association. She has also been a member of the academic experts panel for World Bank’s Women, Business and The Law Index 2019, as well as an Advisor for the SDG Action Manager launched by B-Lab along with the UN Global Compact in early 2020.

José Manuel is a Research Associate at OPHI, and co-authored Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and Analysis published by the Oxford University Press. He has over 20 years of research and policy experience in international development, human development, poverty and inequality analysis, horizon scanning and strategic foresight, while working for civil society organizations, governments, and academia.
He has held various research and advisory roles for international agencies (including the World Bank, UNDP, UNICEF, ECLAC, Asian Development Bank), international NGOs (Save the Children, Care, Oxfam and World Vision) and national governments (Colombia, Venezuela, Egypt, Chile, Brazil, Indonesia, Bhutan and Malaysia).
He has been a lecturer and taught various undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the University of Oxford, University of Sussex and University College of London.

About the Moderator:
Picture of James E. Foster James E. Foster is the Oliver T. Carr, Jr. Professor of International Affairs, Professor of Economics, and Co-Director of the Institute for International Economic Policy at the George Washington University. He is also a Research Associate at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative at Oxford University. Professor Foster’s research focuses on welfare economics — using economic tools to evaluate and enhance the wellbeing of people. His work underlies many well-known social indices including the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) published annually by the UNDP in the Human Development Report, dozens of national MPIs used to guide domestic policy against poverty, the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) at USAID, the Gross National Happiness Index of Bhutan, the Better Jobs Index of the InterAmerican Development Bank, and the Statistical Performance Index of the World Bank. Prof. Foster received his PhD in Economics from Cornell University and has a Doctorate Honoris Causa from Universidad Autonoma del Estado Hidalgo (Mexico).