Multidimensional Poverty: Missing Dimensions of Poverty

By May Gadallah

There were five papers presented in the session:
1- Determinants of Empowerment in a Capability Based Poverty Approach: Evidence from Gambia, by O. Lessmann, K. Trommierova, and S. Klassen.
Gambia is the smallest African country with poverty rate 48.4% and 90% of the population is Muslim.
The paper analyzed the empowerment among households, heads based on data set of 2184 observations. Several questions to measure the empowerment were added the questionnaire trying to capture the perception of people (adult people) in their ability o change anything in the community and also were asked whom they rely on in these changes.
One of the interesting results was finding out that married men are more empowered than unmarried men, and polygamous married men are more empowered than monogamous married men. In addition it was found that while illiterate men rely on themselves literate men answered that they rely on the government, which raises the question whether illiterate men are aware of their basic rights that government should provide them or not. On the other hand questions were raised concerning the causality between marriage and empowerment. It was also suggested that visiting the area and presenting them the results would have been useful.

2- Second paper by Laura Camfield used focus group of young entrepreneurs; predominantly < 30 years, in Kampala Uganda to investigate the non-cognitive skills that are valued by the young entrepreneurs. The most important skills were trust, customer care, listening, and communication. She showed some interesting stories of young entrepreneurs.
3 – Third paper studied the determinants of poverty depth among households in rural andurban Nigeria (by S. O. Awopeiu and I Ferto. The study was motivated by the fact that almost every developing nation has witnessed steady decrease in poverty except Nigeria where the number of poor people reached 112.7m in 2010. Using the data of the 2009/2010 Consumption and Expenditure Survey; based on 38,700 households, they analyzed the poverty depth determinants using tobit regression at the national level, the rural level, and the urban level separately. The results didn’t differ between three analyses.The main conclusions were that males are better off than females and Northern Nigeria is poorer than Southern Nigeria. Larger households were also poorer than smaller households.

4- Fourth paper by M. Salazar-Ordofiez, L.Mohedano, and R. Pedregosa they applied expert knowledge in order to measure multidimensional rural poverty in Chittagong (Bangladesh). The authors wanted to contribute to the debate on how the indicators should be weighted to form a composite index. So they estimated the MPI (multidimensional poverty index) using both homogeneous weights for dimensions and indicators and weights suggested by 29 experts using the participatory method , e.g. analytic hierarchy process (AHP).
The paper found some coherence of results of the MPI generated using the new weights with the actual situation of the households at the local level. Main conclusion was that well informed local expert paint a picture of MPI substantially different from the one stated by the traditional MPI with homogeneous weights.
5- The author A. Fisher wanted in his paper “Inequality Vulnerability and the Relative Condition of Modern Poverty” to go beyond the absolute ppp poverty rates as no accurate or consistent assessment of the basic needs are captured. He explored the concept of social needs , which is not captured by multidimensional approach and likely it will diverge from the absolute measures. Examples of relationship between obesity and GNI per capita was given to show that developing countries as Egypt may have the same rate of obesity as rich country as USA and Qatar. Which raises the question beween ppp poverty rates again and food and basic needs. This presentation raised the questions about relationship between wealth and habits and food.

May Gadallah is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Statistics at Cairo University