Multi-Dimensional Poverty and Poverty Dynamics

This is a joint EADI/DSA group. Please also visit the DSA Study Group for other information and documents.

The Multi-Dimensional Poverty Working Group (MDP WG) is highly relevant due to the primacy given poverty reduction in the present United Nations Sustainable development goals (SDGs), and because it is a joint Development Studies Association (DSA)/EADI group that bridges both communities.

What are the core questions?

The core questions the MDP WG explores relate to the conceptualisation, measurement and dynamics of poverty. The group debates the structural causes for the persistence of poverty and how frameworks for development and poverty reduction can influence policy to promote positive and sustainable social change.

What are our aims? What do we want to achieve as a Working Group?

The MDP WG aims to provide an open forum for people around the world to engage with and share multi-disciplinary research on understanding, measuring, and reducing poverty.

About this Working Group

Poverty reduction has never been more prominent on international research and global policy agendas. The SDGs reflect the multidimensional nature of poverty while the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening to unravel decades of progress. It also threatens to further deepen existing inequalities. To reflect the vibrancy of conceptual, methodological, empirical and policy debates around the persistence of poverty and how to tackle it, the group has two strands.

The first strand addresses questions relating to the meaning and measurement of poverty, the conceptualization of poverty, and the social reproduction of poverty over time. Areas include multi-dimensionality in poverty, the intergenerational transfer of poverty, social exclusion, and alternative conceptualisations of poverty, such as the Sen/Nussbaum Capability Approach, the Consensual Approach, and wellbeing approaches.

In relation to methodology, the group will take a critical look at the assessment of poverty using longitudinal studies, impact evaluations and poverty trends at local, national and global levels. The group also explores both subjective and objective aspects of poverty and embraces a wide range of research methodologies. The group does not focus on a particular age group, but looks at poverty across the life course. This encompasses the intersectional experiences of children and elderly people as well as working age adults.

The second strand addresses questions relating to the policy process and objectives. These include reflections on how poverty debates or frameworks for development and poverty reduction have influenced policy and whether these have been successful or not. For example, it examines different policy interventions to achieve the SDGs and the challenges and progress when implementing these interventions. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, a health crisis clearly has widespread, multi-dimensional impacts and requires similarly comprehensive responses. To what extent can a multidimensional, inter-generational approach improve our understanding of the impacts of the pandemic and inform policy prescriptions? In addition, this strand includes country- or context-specific policy responses to multidimensional poverty, such as social protection, or factors associated with or leading to multidimensional poverty, such as migration, urbanisation and psychosocial wellbeing.

Our members

The aim of the group is to bring together people working on poverty across the global North and South using a range of conceptual and methodological approaches. In doing this we contribute to contemporary debates and share multi-disciplinary research on understanding, measuring, and reducing poverty.