From Income Poverty to Multidimensional Quality of Life

  • Christopher T. Whelan Geary Institute of Public Policy and School of Sociology, University College Dublin
  • Dorothy Watson The Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin
  • Bertrand Maître

Abstract

In this paper we provide an overview of the movement in Ireland from a focus on income poverty to the incorporation of deprivation indicators in a multidimensional approach to the measurement of poverty. We then seek to place this approach, involving a restricted incorporation of deprivation dimensions, in the context of a broader multidimensional approach to the understanding of poverty in Ireland. We proceed to extend our consideration to multidimensional approaches to quality of life which have involved macro and micro approaches to developing aggregate measures that go well beyond the normal concerns of poverty research. In so doing, we will seek to show that while all of these approaches must face key judgements relating to choices of dimensions, thresholds, weighting and aggregation, there is significant variation in the challenges posed in relation to the scale of aggregation, the degree of multidimensionality aspired to and the availability of data sources that match such ambitions. Given these issues, the superiority of a multidimensional approach and of a focus more broadly on quality of life must be demonstrated rather than assumed.

Published
2019-12-16