Concepts, Research, Policy
Elgar original reference
Edited by Sylvia Chant
Chapter 8: Multidimensional Poverty Measurement in Mexico and Central America: Incorporating Rights and Equality
Anna Coates Why multidimensional poverty? Prior to the current global financial crisis, Latin America had enjoyed sustained economic growth during recent years, as evidenced by a 5.6 per cent increase in Gross National Product (GNP) in 2006 and 2007.1 However, despite this growth, poverty rates registered relatively minor decreases, at only 8 per cent over the last decade in Nicaragua, and 9 per cent in Honduras. Furthermore, inequalities within countries continue to pose a considerable challenge, with an average GINI coefficient of 0.57 for Central America in 2007. Given widespread recognition of the failure of macroeconomic policies to achieve sustained economic growth with equity (within the trickledown philosophy of the Washington Consensus), a growing wave of interdisciplinary conceptual frameworks have re-examined the household income and consumption model of ‘poverty’, drawing heavily on the seminal work of Amartya Sen. In the context of the current world crisis, it is a timely moment to review the basic principles of current poverty measurements applied in Mexico and Central America and the potential to develop measurements that better reflect new conceptual models, particularly given the significance of the common refrain of ‘what’s measured is what counts’ for understanding current development challenges in the region and for formulating public policies. Current poverty measures The majority of current poverty calculations in Mexico and Central America are based upon household incomes, and their adequacy for covering essential items of consumption. Internationally, perhaps the best known is the World Bank poverty line, estimated according to the average of...
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