Multidimensional Deprivations in Pakistan: Regional Variations and Temporal Shifts (2015)

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The political debate on poverty reduction has become more intense in the developing countries, and the conception of poverty has broadened beyond monetary measures such as income and consumption to include broader socio-economic dimensions of human wellbeing, such as health, education, housing, access to infrastructure and services etc., which together define human freedoms. Multidimensional poverty (MDP) – that encompasses capability failures and social exclusion – is a holistic and more comprehensive yet incomplete concept that has gained currency recently but only with handful applications for policy making. To advance the MDP model further, this study examine the regional variations and temporal shifts of poverty in 26 regions of Pakistan for five time periods, i.e. 1998–99, 2001–02, 2004–05, 2005–06 and 2007–08, using the multidimensional poverty approach based on education, health, and housing facilities. Standard methodological procedure developed by Alkire and Foster (2008) and recognized by UNDP (2010a) was employed. Temporal analysis shows that the MDP was higher in rural areas; declined by 7% in 2007–08 in rural areas compared to 1998–99 but merely by 1% in urban areas. Among the urban regions, Bahawalpur, Malakand, D. I. Khan, Mardan and Makran revealed a significant declining shift of 9%, 11%, 10%, 12% and 9% respectively in 2007–08 compared to 1998–99. Likewise, the rural areas in Faisalabad, Bahawalpur, Malakand, Kohat, Hazara and Sibbi showed a substantial decrease of 8%, 10%, 15%, 13%, 11% and 9% respectively in 2007–8 compared to 1998–99. Notably, Bahawalpur and Malakand showed higher temporal decline in MDP in both urban and rural areas, thereby showing a significant development in the provision of health, education and housing facilities to the people of respective rural–urban areas. However, the trend was inconsistent over time due probably to the haphazard development policies and political instability in the country resulting in higher socioeconomic deprivations. Regional analysis shows that considering both rural and urban areas, Kalat, Makran and Zhob lagged behind and remained among the poorest regions in all periods. Conversely, Karachi and Rawalpindi had least poverty in urban and rural areas. Pakistan's development trajectory is a classic case of economic growth and lagging human development. This study suggests the need for adopting an integrated approach to improve the socio-economic dimensions to meet the international standards of wellbeing such as the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. It further calls for tackling socio-economic deprivations through development interventions including improved schooling, access to technical education, non-farm enterprises, and more robust agriculture sector. Besides contributing to formulate above policy instruments conducive to poverty alleviation, findings of this study will also supplement theoretical and empirical studies on multidimensional poverty in other developing countries of Asia.
Year: 2015
Language: English
In: The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 56 : 57-67 p.

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