Defending Development: An Evaluation of the Multidimensional Poverty Index


Raadhika Vishvesh

Published: March 2017


The need to define development has witnessed many attempts to condense a country’s economic deprivation into a single figure. In order to target poor citizens, it is important to classify those who are ‘non-poor’ by a poverty statistic. Crucial steps in the creation and evaluation of a poverty index in the 1980s were the World Bank’s ‘Dollar a Day’ measure (now USD1.25 a day), the creation of the Human Development Index (HDI) in 1990 and the Inequality Adjusted HDI created in 2005 as a distribution-sensitive average of the HDI. In 2010, a fundamentally different method of measuring poverty – the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) – was created, which identifies numerous deprivations at the individual and household level in education, health and living standards. Unfortunately, the MPI has many flaws, including mixing stock and flow variables, a lack of data particularly, for health and education, the absence of variables and the neglect of gender, moreover it suffers from international comparability problems.



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