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Title: The constitutional approach to poverty measurement : a multiple deprivation framework for high-income countries
Authors: Tosi, Francesca
metadata.dc.contributor.advisor: Liberati, Paolo
Keywords: high-income countries
distributive justice
multidimensional poverty
constitutional approach
Issue Date: 23-Jun-2015
Publisher: Università degli studi Roma Tre
Abstract: Today there is widespread agreement on the urge of adopting conceptual frameworks and evaluation tools that allow to include a variety of aspects of human life in evaluating people’s living standards, even at the highest levels of policy making (Stiglitz et al., 2009). While there is no consensus on which specific life domains should be taken into account, the arguments in favour of a broadening of the informational basis for poverty analysis are cogent: low consumption surely is at the heart of the concept of ‘poverty’ but a number of other domains – like poor human health, limited access to education and powerlessness – are systematically concerned by inadequate living standards (Ferreira and Lugo, 2013). This study hypothesises that the application of a theoretical framework for the reconceptualization of multidimensional poverty as a distributive justice question can be used to (i) address the need for multidimensionality in poverty assessment while minimizing the degree of arbitrariness with which normative choices are often made; and (ii) explain changes in living standards in highincome countries and inform policy makers in a more effective way compared to a unidimensional poverty framework. In Chapter I, we thoroughly review theories and metrics in support of multidimensional poverty analysis, with a particular focus on counting methods and axiomatically derived poverty indices. We highlight the advantages of applying a methodology that enables us to study the distribution of multiple deprivations that simultaneously affect the individuals and identify a new family of poverty measure (Rippin, 2010, 2012a, 2015) that can serve our purpose. In Chapter II, we study the possibility of using conceptual instruments offered by contemporary theories of social justice to address a multidimensional poverty question for high-income countries. We then develop a theoretical framework inspired by John Rawls’ theory of justice (1971, 1999, 2001) to reconceptualise multidimensional poverty analysis, which enables us to frame an ethically sound and publicly justified empirical assessments of people’s living conditions in constitutional democracies through the application of a Constitutional Approach to dimensions selection. In Chapter III, we contextualize the research in the European framework, reviewing the history and the state of the art of multidimensional poverty analysis for Europe and Italy and identifying weaknesses and possible room for improvement in poverty measurement approaches currently in use. Chapter IV concludes with an investigation on the joint distribution of multiple deprivations in Italy based on EU-SILC cross-sectional data from 2004 to 2013. Two main factors tell the story of deprivation in Italy: age and geography. Deprivations follow a clear pattern through the different stages of life: the youth are threatened by unemployment and economic insecurity, while the elderly report more deprivations in health conditions and educational attainment at once. Geographically, multidimensional poverty estimates confirm the existence territorial disparities already accounted for by official monetary poverty measures, but highlighting remarkable exceptions, confirming that well-informed multidimensional estimates are able to generate non-trivial results. The study of the phenomenology of multiple deprivations in Italy shows that poverty breadth is higher in the South, as well as poverty intensity; conversely, inequality among the poor is widespread in the North, especially in north-western regions. During the past ten years, multidimensional poverty has steadily decreased until 2010 and it started increasing without a clear pattern afterwards. A deterioration in decent work and health conditions has mainly contributed to this change of pattern, while education and living environment conditions have improved across time. Comparing ISPI figures to official statistics on poverty will allow us formulating possible explanations about what are the factors to which different indicators are more likely to be sensitive. We conclude suggesting that a generalization of this study to assess multidimensional poverty at European level can make an interesting area for further research.
Access Rights: info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
Appears in Collections:Dipartimento di Economia
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