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Rethinking multidimensional poverty through a multi-criteria analysis

Elena Barcena, Salvador Pérez-Moreno and Beatriz Rodríguez-Díaz

Economic Modelling, 2020, vol. 91, issue C, 313-325

Abstract: The risk of poverty or social exclusion constitutes the pivotal multidimensional indicator of living conditions in the European Union. Nevertheless, it only reports the proportion of individuals at risk and disregards the depth of poverty. The indicator therefore overlooks situations of possible vulnerable groups just above the threshold and is not sensitive to all dimensions in which the individual is at risk. In this paper we propose an alternative multi-criteria based approach that overcomes these problems. Our measure captures information about the level of achievement in each dimension of all persons along the distribution and evaluates to what extent the concurrence of multiple deprivations reinforces their disadvantage. This approach permits diverse ways of aggregation with different degrees of substitutability among the achievements of each dimension according to context-specific social preferences. We illustrate our approach with an empirical analysis of 28 countries using the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions database for 2016. The results reveal that work intensity may be regarded as the most determining factor in analyses of multidimensional poverty across European countries. Our measures unmask how countries with similar proportions of individuals at risk of poverty or social exclusion hide very different conditions of multidimensional poverty and highlight the variety of socioeconomic realities existing behind the dichotomy imposed by the usual ‘at risk of poverty or social exclusion’ rate.

Keywords: Multidimensional poverty; At risk of poverty or social exclusion; Multi-criteria approach; European countries (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C02 C44 I32 O52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2020.06.007

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