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Multidimensional Child Poverty: From Complex Weighting to Simple Representation

Maryam Abdu () and Enrique Delamonica ()
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Maryam Abdu: UNICEF
Enrique Delamonica: UNICEF

Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, 2018, vol. 136, issue 3, 881-905

Abstract: Abstract Within the debates on poverty measurement among experts as well as the discussions about Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) an interesting shift has taken place in recent years, away from uni-dimensional measurements (based on a poverty line) and towards multi-dimensional approaches. Any multi-dimensional approach is, by definition, dealing with the complexity of poverty across a range of aspects which need to be assessed separately before they can be combined (weighted) to produce an overall, synthetic measure. This measure, in turn, if it is going to be more than a theoretical curiosum, must be translated for and presented to the public at large and decision-makers in order to impact programs and policies to reduce and eliminate poverty. In this paper, all the steps involved in the last two sentences are explored. This is done in the context of the measurement of Child Poverty that was initiated over a decade ago by UNICEF. After a brief review of the history and evolution of the measurement of Child Poverty, three consecutive sections dealing with the issues raised above are introduced. First, based on the experience of over 70 countries from all developing continents, the selection of indicators is discussed. This is followed by a simple simulation showing the pitfalls of endogenous weights. The third of these sections explores the challenges in presenting these results to a wide, lay audience which are shown to be less intractable than the issues faced by weighted composite indexes and the “dollar-a-day” uni-dimensional metric. An additional section deals with the problem of embedding the Child Poverty measurement within the larger poverty picture of the country (i.e. comparing and complementing metrics of adult and overall poverty). The final section summarizes the main results and conclusions of the paper.

Keywords: Complexity; Multi-dimensional poverty; Child Poverty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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