The conceptualization and measurement of poverty has been the subject of intense study for more than a century. The adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 gave additional stimulus to these longstanding efforts, this time at the global level, and the progress made towards reducing world poverty is encouraging.
Alongside improvements to the quantity and quality of data, there have been significant advances in conceptualizing and measuring poverty. One noticeable shift is the movement away from an exclusive focus on consumption-poverty, with attention now often also given to non-income dimensions of well-being, such as literacy achievements, nutritional health status and individual empowerment. This has led to lengthy debate concerning the way in which various dimensions of well-being are best combined into a single multidimensional poverty measure. But, even staying within the unidimensional consumption-poverty domain, there are many unresolved issues that deserve attention, especially regarding the time dimension in poverty.
The six studies in this special issue of the Journal of Economic Inequality (Luc Christiaensen and Tony Shorrocks, guest editors) take an intertemporal perspective on poverty measurement. They were first presented at the UNU-WIDER conference on “Frontiers of Poverty Analysis”, in September 2008 in Helsinki, and have since been extensively revised and polished following feedback from the audience and academic peer review
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