On Data Availability for Assessing Monetary and Multidimensional Poverty
Change of topic for this session. The original session is postponed.
This seminar is organised jointly with the Institute for International Economic Policy at George Washington University and the UNDP Human Development Report Office. This seminar will be held online, with a possibility for members of the University of Oxford to join in person in Meeting Room A, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, OX1 3TB. Registration on: gwu-edu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TlQxhGKwSgm4F9awBon5wg

Data availability plays a crucial role in the fight against poverty. Yet, it lags behind the data available on most other economic phenomena. This paper catalogues and reviews existing data availability for low and middle income countries with a view to break the cycle of outdated poverty data and strengthen statistical systems – while drawing readers’ attention to existing information and experiences. Countries that generate and analyse frequent and accurate poverty data are identified to show what is possible and to better document what is already available. Results show that data for both monetary and multidimensional poverty dramatically increased since 1980. Sixty countries already produce annual updates to key statistics, and some have continuous household surveys with cost-cutting synergies. International agencies have explored short surveys for comparable data but the success and uptake of these has not followed expected patterns. Certain regions have agreed on harmonised variable definitions across countries, and new technologies reduce lags between data collection and analysis. These existing resources and experiences can inform much-needed efforts to expand data availability.


Sabina Alkire, Director, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, Oxford Department of International Development, University of Oxford

Sabina Alkire directs the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), a research centre within the Oxford Department of International Development, University of Oxford. Dr Alkire works on a new approach to measuring poverty and well-being that goes beyond the traditional focus on income and growth. This multidimensional approach to measurement includes social goals, such as health, education, nutrition, standard of living and other valuable aspects of life. She devised a new method for measuring multidimensional poverty with her colleague James Foster (OPHI Research Associate and Professor of Economics at George Washington University) that has advantages over other poverty measures and has been adopted by the Mexican Government, the Bhutanese Government in their ‘Gross National Happiness Index’ and the United Nations Development Programme. Dr Alkire has been called upon to provide input and advice to several initiatives seeking to take a broader approach to well-being rather than just economic growth, for example, the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (instigated by President Sarkozy); the United Nations Human Development Programme Human Development Report Office; the European Commission; and the UK’s Department for International Development.


Yanchun Zhang, Chief of Statistics, Human Development Report Office, United Nations Development Programme

Yanchun has more than twenty years of quantitative research experience on a wide range of economic and sustainable development topics. She has published articles on international macroeconomics, climate change and development, economic vulnerabilities and social protection in refereed academic and policy journals.Prior to HDRO, she served as Chief of the Commodities Branch at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva from 2019 to 2020, leading analytical research, which includes a biennial statistics report State of Commodities Dependence, and capacity-building projects in a dozen of commodity dependent developing countries in Africa and Asia. Prior to that, she was Chief of the Commodity Policy Implementation and Outreach Section from 2014 to 2019, in charge of formulating demand-driven technical cooperation initiatives, mobilizing multilateral and bilateral funding sources and coordinating the preparation of publicity materials and press releases for outreach efforts.Before UNCTAD, she had worked at UNDP in New York from 2007 to 2013 as a Policy Specialist, conducting original research on emerging development topics that are strategically important for the organization. From 2003 to 2006, she was an assistant professor at San Francisco State University, teaching and researching on econometrics, statistics and macroeconomics. Prior to her academic career, she also worked for the World Bank’s Development Research Group.She holds Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Economics with specializations on econometrics, development economics and international economics from University of Virginia, U.S.A, and a B.A. degree in Economics with honors from Shanghai Fudan University, China.

Heriberto Tapia, Research and Strategic Partnership Advisor, Human Development Report Office, United Nations Development Programme

Heriberto has been a senior member of the writing-research team at HDRO since 2014. Previously, he served in the Executive Office of UNDP (2012-2014) and in the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (1998-2005). He has worked as a consultant to the IMF, UNDP and ECLAC. Furthermore, he has been lecturer at Columbia University (New York), University of Chile (Santiago) and University Diego Portales (Santiago). Heriberto holds a Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University, and a Master’s degree in economics and a Commercial Engineering degree from the University of Chile.
Date: 18 October 2021, 16:00 (Monday, 2nd week, Michaelmas 2021)
Venue: Online
Speakers: Professor Sabina Alkire (University of Oxford), Yanchun Zhang (UNDP HDRO), Heriberto Tapia (UNDP HDRO)
Organising department: Oxford Department of International Development
Organisers: Pedro Conceição (UNDP HDRO), Professor James Foster (Georges Washington University), Professor Sabina Alkire (University of Oxford)
Organiser contact email address: ophi@qeh.ox.ac.uk
Host: Professor James Foster (Georges Washington University)
Part of: OPHI Seminar Series
Booking required?: Required
Booking url: https://gwu-edu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TlQxhGKwSgm4F9awBon5wg
Audience: Public
Editors: Emeline Marcelin, Kelly-Ann Fonderson