Multidimensional Poverty and Children in Punjab, Pakistan

This paper compares a national multidimensional poverty index (MPI) with child disaggregation of that same MPI, and then with an individual-level child MPI, which uses age-specific indicators covering the cycle of childhood, to assess the convergence and value-added of these different measurement approaches empirically. It focuses on Punjab Province in Pakistan. In 2016, the Government of Pakistan launched an official national MPI, covering 15 indicators across the dimensions of education, health, and standard of living, and provided estimations disaggregated to the district level. This study proxies that MPI using 2017-18 MICS Punjab data, and comparatively analyses the proxy MPI with both the child-disaggregations of the same measure and a linked Child MPI. The Child MPI is constructed at the level of the individual child and adds a fourth dimension of childhood conditions, with age-appropriate indicators such as nutrition, schooling, child labour, and early child marriage. The analysis compares multidimensional poverty levels, intensity, and indicator-wise decompositions for all three measures across the districts of Punjab. Results show that district-wise ranking are largely robust across the three multidimensional child poverty measurement approaches adopted, whilst there is clear evidence of the identification gain yielded through an additional child-specific dimension. Additional analysis suggests that results are largely retained when considering the prevalence of undernutrition.