Innocenti Working Papers

The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) was created to strengthen UNICEF's research capability and to support its advocacy for children worldwide. The Working Papers (formerly Innocenti Occasional Papers), are the foundation of the Centre's research output, underpinning many of the Centre's other publications. These high quality research papers are aimed at an academic and well-informed audience, contributing to ongoing discussion on a wide range of child-related issues.


Lost (in) Dimensions

Consolidating Progress in Multidimensional Poverty Research

Identifying, locating and profiling the poor and deprived individuals in a society are the most basic imperatives for good social policy design. Understanding why people are – and remain – poor is the next analytical step. Multidimensional poverty and deprivation estimates are important new tools in this undertaking. This paper reviews the insights of various contributions from research into multidimensional poverty and deprivation and combines them into an internally consistent framework. The framework adds an important element by emphasising that people may experience various types and forms of poverty and deprivation simultaneously. The experience of poverty is often multifaceted and deprivations are interrelated in many cases. This highlights the necessity to clearly separate the different concepts of poverty and to study their overlap. The proposed framework aims at creating more conceptual clarity and overcoming the challenges that have arisen from some earlier efforts; the main challenge is to avoid “getting lost in (a multitude of) dimensions” when carrying out a series of single-dimensional analyses, and avoiding the “loss of dimensions” when reducing multiple dimensions into a multidimensional poverty index. The paper also makes a distinction between household poverty and child poverty, recognising that children may experience poverty differently to adults and that people’s needs differ depending on their age. By articulating key decisions which are made throughout the multidimensional poverty analysis this paper intends to create a more informed understanding of multidimensional poverty analysis for children.


Keywords: child poverty, poverty overlaps, multidimensional poverty, child well-being
JEL: I31: Health, Education, and Welfare / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty / General Welfare; Well-Being; J13: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics / Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth; I32: Health, Education, and Welfare / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty / Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
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