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The Center for Global Development and The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies present a seminar on Multidimensional Poverty:
Featuring James Foster
George Washington University
With discussant Martin Ravallion
Development Research Group, World Bank
Twenty-five years ago, James Foster's influential work with Joel Greer and Erick Thorbecke helped define the way the world measures poverty. Foster will present his recent work on the theory of how to measure poverty when we care not only about income but also other dimensions of well-being such as health and education. Martin Ravallion, Director of the Development Research Group at the World Bank, is the author of a new essay that criticizes the idea of a single multidimensional index. He will argue instead that multiple indicators should be tracked separately.
*The Massachusetts Ave. Development Seminar (MADS) is a ten year-old research seminar series that brings some of the world’s leading development scholars to discuss their new research and ideas. The presentations meet an academic standard of quality and are at times technical, but retain a focus on a mixed audience of researchers and policymakers.
Download Counting and Multidimensional Poverty Measurement by James Foster
Abstract: This paper proposes a new methodology for multidimensional poverty measurement consisting of an identification method ρk that extends the traditional intersection and union approaches, and a class of poverty measures Mα. Our identification step employs two forms of cutoff: one within each dimension to determine whether a person is deprived in that dimension, and a second across dimensions that identifies the poor by ‘counting’ the dimensions in which a person is deprived. The aggregation step employs the FGT measures, appropriately adjusted to account for multidimensionality. The axioms are presented as joint restrictions on identification and the measures, and the methodology satisfies a range of desirable properties including decomposability. The identification method is particularly well suited for use with ordinal data, as is the first of our measures, the adjusted headcount ratio. We present some dominance results and an interpretation of the adjusted headcount ratio as a measure of unfreedom. Examples from the US and Indonesia illustrate our methodology
Download Multidimensional Indices of Poverty by Martin Ravallion
Abstract: The contribution of recently proposed “multidimensional indices of poverty” may not be as obvious as one thinks. The paper argues that there are two key issues in assessing that contribution: whether one believes that any single index can be a sufficient statistic for credible poverty assessments; and whether, when aggregation is called for, one chooses to do so in the “attainment space” or the “deprivation space.” After explaining these differences, the paper critically reviews the arguments made for multidimensional indices of poverty and their relevance to antipoverty policy. The paper argues in favor of “multiple indices of poverty” appropriate to each setting, rather than a single “multidimensional index of poverty.”
The Chinese government’s Belt and Road initiative, now entering its 7th year, has generated a great deal of attention globally. The visibility of the initiative reflects its priority among China’s senior leadership, the consideration of the initiative as both opportunity and risk among potential partner governments, and the concerns raised by its critics. The discourse to date has been dominated by political and strategic considerations. The economics of BRI has received considerably less attention, partly a function of the lack of analysis and research on economic questions – but that picture is changing.
The digital transformation of the global economy can help businesses and governments provide services more efficiently and effectively. But it also creates new risks for individuals whose personal data may be used to improve products and services.
Health systems around the world can suffer from a crisis of distrust; patients may question the quality of government clinics and newspapers may expose private hospitals for peddling unnecessary procedures. These are symptoms of volume-based health systems that focus on the quantity of care delivered rather than quality or outcomes. Many countries are accelerating down this path. Hospital construction sometimes surpasses growth of primary care infrastructure. New insurance schemes sometimes expand access to inpatient treatment, without equivalent expansion of community-based prevention. These approaches create lasting structural flaws which increase costs without delivering desired results. As countries commit to universal health coverage (UHC), there is a narrow window to chart a different trajectory toward the common goal of achieving the best health outcomes for the resources invested.
In 2016, the Liberian government delegated management of 93 randomly-selected public schools to private providers. The program has become an important case study in the design and management of public-private partnerships in the developing world, and a lightning rod for controversy.
The World Health Organization has declared a need for smarter spending strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. But what does ‘spending smarter’ mean? Should we prioritize TB screening and treatment or improved coverage of basic surgical services? What happens when we care about multiple aims, like population health outcomes and patient out-of-pocket health expenditures? Rarely are the same interventions the ‘best buys’ across all dimensions of interest. In this talk, Kate Lofgren will explore how mathematical optimization can formally account for multiple objectives and inform public financing decisions. Spending smarter can mean different decisions depending on the objective(s).
The Ebola outbreak that the DRC has grappled with for well over a year has, once again, highlighted the critical need for the international community to refocus and prioritize investments in health security preparedness and response.
Governments and donors are increasingly focused on the use of evidence in evaluating human development programs and setting policy priorities. This master class will provide early career researchers with cutting-edge methodological tools for experimental and quasi-experimental evaluation of early childhood development interventions. The course is intended for current PhD students and recent graduates whose doctoral work is focused on early childhood development, education, development economics, or public policy.