Sam Jones at the University of Oxford OPHI Seminar Series

Sam Jones, UNU-WIDER Research Fellow and researcher at the Inclusive Growth in Mozambique (IGM) Programme was invited to the University of Oxford OPHI seminar series on 14 February 2022 to share the findings from a recent WIDER Working Paper entitled ‘Extending Multidimensional Poverty Identification. From Additive Weights to Minimal Bundles’. The event will take place online at 16:00 (UCT +0).

The OPHI seminar series is a seminar series organized  by the University of Oxford through the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), the Institute for International Economic Policy at George Washington University and the UNDP Human Development Report Office. It brings together academic staff and students interested in multidimensional poverty in an informal intellectual and social environment where we its discussed research related to different aspects of the measurement or explanation of multidimensional poverty.

About the study

In the popular class of multidimensional poverty measures introduced by Alkire and Foster (2011), a threshold switching function is used to identify who is multidimensionally poor. This paper shows that the weights and cut-off employed in this procedure are generally not unique and that such functions implicitly assume all groups of deprivation indicators of some fixed size are perfect substitutes. To address these limitations, the paper shows how the identification procedure can be extended to incorporate any type of positive switching function, represented by the set of minimal deprivation bundles that define a unit as poor. Furthermore, the Banzhaf power index, uniquely defined from the same set of minimal bundles, constitutes a natural and robust metric of the relative importance of each indicator, from which the adjusted headcount can be estimated. The paper demonstrates the merit of this approach using data from Mozambique, including a decomposition of the adjusted headcount using a ‘one from each dimension’ non-threshold function.