Concepts, Research, Policy
Elgar original reference
Edited by Sylvia Chant
Chapter 6: Advancing the Scope of Gender and Poverty Indices: An Agenda and Work in Progress
Thomas Pogge The World Bank’s International Poverty Line (IPL) and the Human and Gender-Related Development Indices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) guide – and often misguide – the efforts of policymakers in governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and international agencies. Political actors use such indices as proxies for the values they purport to measure: devoting certain resources toward effecting the largest achievable reduction in the poverty index, for example, on the assumption that they will thereby have brought about – or be perceived to have brought about – the largest achievable reduction in what makes poverty objectionable. Insofar as an index fails to track, money and human effort go to waste. This chapter marks the beginning of a major research effort, funded by, among others, the Australian Research Council, Oxfam, and the International Women’s Development Agency. Our objective is to reflect critically on how gender equity, development, and poverty have been – and on how they ought to be – measured and tracked across a plurality of diverse natural and social environments. The immediate motivation for this project is dissatisfaction with current ways of measuring poverty, development, and gender equity. Tracking poverty as the number or proportion of people living below some IPL The best-known poverty index is a crude headcount index pioneered by the World Bank (hereafter, the Bank), which reports simply, for any population, the percentage of persons living below some international poverty line. This IPL is defined in US dollars of a certain base year – currently US$1.25 per person per day...
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