The Asian ‘Poverty Miracle’

The Asian ‘Poverty Miracle’

Impressive Accomplishments or Incomplete Achievements?

ADBI series on Asian Economic Integration and Cooperation

Edited by Jacques Silber and Guanghua Wan

Following rapid economic growth in recent decades, Asia and the Pacific experienced an impressive reduction in extreme poverty, but this drop was not uniform and achievements are still incomplete. Vulnerability to natural disasters, the increasing impact of climate change and economic crises should all be taken into account. There is also a need to consider the multidimensional nature of poverty and the non-uniformity of the decrease across different ethnic groups. This book explores the Asian ‘poverty miracle’ and argues for the development and use of an Asia-specific poverty line.

Chapter 6: Measuring multidimensional poverty in three Southeast Asian countries using ordinal variables

Valérie Bérenger

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, asian economics, development studies, asian development, development economics, economics and finance, asian economics, development economics


The primary objective of this chapter is to highlight the contribution of the recent methodological refinements of poverty measures based on counting approaches using ordinal variables to the understanding of the evolution of poverty in Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Using the general framework proposed by Silber and Yalonetzky (2013), this chapter compares multidimensional poverty measures such as the Multidimensional Poverty Index used by the UNDP (an index based on the approach of Alkire and Foster (2011)) with others which are sensitive to the distribution of deprivation counts across individuals. To the latter family belong the poverty measures introduced by Chakravarty and D’Ambrosio (2006) and Rippin (2010) and those based on the extension of the approach of Aaberge and Peluso (2012), as suggested by Silber and Yalonetzky (2013). Poverty is estimated using Demographic and Health Surveys for three different years for Cambodia (2000, 2005 and 2010), for Indonesia (1997, 2003 and 2007), and for the Philippines (1997, 2003 and 2008) by considering the deprivations in education, health and standard of living. Our findings indicate that Cambodia shows the highest level of poverty, followed by Indonesia and the Philippines, irrespective of the poverty measures used. At the national level, all countries reduced their multidimensional poverty over time using poverty measures as the one based on the approach of Alkire and Foster (2011) and those that are sensitive to the concentration of deprivations across individuals. As in most of Asian developing countries, poverty is largely a rural phenomenon. However, when examining the evolution of poverty over time for each country, conclusions drawn from the use of various poverty measures may differ regarding trends in poverty over time by area of residence as well as by region of residence.

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