Gender and Multidimensional Poverty in Nicaragua: an individual-based approach

Espinoza-Delgado, José Luis (2016). 'Gender and Multidimensional Poverty in Nicaragua: an individual-based approach' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.

There is a widespread consensus that poverty is a multidimensional phenomenon and its measurement should not be relied exclusively on income or consumption expenditures per capita as the monetary (or traditional) approach does [Sen (1985, 2000), Atkinson (2003), Kakwani and Silber (2008), Stiglitz et al. (2009a, 2009b), Whelan et al. (2014), Alkire et al (2015)]. Since the pioneering works of Kai-yuen Tsui (2002) and François Bourguignon and Satya Chakravarty (2003), a number of multidimensional poverty indices have been put forward, including the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (Global-MPI), which was proposed by Sabina Alkire and Maria Emma Santos (2010) and launched by UNDP’s Human Development Report 2010. The vast majority of them use the household as unit of analysis, even though they report the percentage of people who are identified as multidimensionally poor by using sampling weights, which means that they assume equal distribution of resources and externalities within the household and equate poverty status of the household with the poverty status of all the household members. This contrasts, however, with the long-standing literature on intra-household bargaining, with the extensive knowledge that poverty is experienced differently by men and women, and ignores the different preferences and needs of the household members [Bessel (2015)].
            Gender equality is, both implicitly and explicitly, at the center of the post-2015 development agenda. In order to track the progress in achieving this goal, in a proper way, new measures able to capture the gender differences are needed. Based on the Amartya Sen’s capability approach, in this paper, an attempt is made to derive this kind of measure. The paper has four goals: (1) to propose a new individual-based Multidimensional Poverty Index for Nicaragua, (2) to compare the results (level and trends) of an individual-based measure with a household-based one, (3) to assess whether there is a significant gap between male and female multidimensional poverty, and, if so, (4) to find out what is driving the gap.
            To accomplish the goals, two approaches to multidimensional poverty measurement are applied, the methodology proposed by Sabina Alkire and James Foster (2007, 2011), and the methodology proposed by Nicole Rippin (2009, 2012). With data from the last two Nicaragua Living Standards Measurement Surveys (2009, 2014), four well-established dimensions are constructed (education, health, employment, standard of living); the population is split into four groups according to the ages of the people (i < 6;   6 <= i <= 17; 17 < i <= 59; i > 59), and the incidence, the intensity, and the inequality of the multidimensional poverty are estimated by each of these groups. To the best of our knowledge, this paper represents the first effort to estimate an individual-based multidimensional poverty measure for Nicaragua, and one of the first attempts in the literature.

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