Historically, the World Bank has measured global extreme poverty using a single poverty line, currently set at $1.90, and reported a single point estimate of poverty, most recently estimated to be 10.7 percent of the global population in 2013. In the context of the World Bank’s goal to help bring an end to extreme poverty by 2030, the focus on a single poverty line and point estimate has been reasonable. But recommendations from the Atkinson Commission on Global Poverty have spurred a collaborative effort of the research and data groups within DEC and the Poverty Global Practice to be more ambitious and expansive in our approach to measuring global poverty.
In this talk, Dean Jolliffe will first review how the World Bank monitors progress towards the extreme poverty goal, including an explanation of how the $1.90 international poverty line was established and the role of purchasing power parity indices. He will then discuss some of the supplemental poverty measures that will be monitored in addition to the measure of extreme poverty, including the introduction of “income-class” poverty lines, multi-dimensional poverty indices, and a “global societal poverty line” (i.e. a weakly relative line).
The presentation will conclude with a discussion of the Atkinson recommendation to report estimates of total error to enhance the informational content of the poverty point estimate. Jolliffe will provide examples of research on survey methodology being carried out by the LSMS team that help point the way towards improved data quality and comparability. This research can also provide some of the required building blocks to better understand the probable bounds of our poverty point estimates.