Measuring Poverty around the World

Author: Anthony B. Atkinson

Publisher: Princeton University Press

In his final, and now posthumous, book, Anthony Atkinson conducts a wide-ranging study of poverty and inequality around the world.

Though poverty has some objective indicators, standardised views of poverty do not accurately reflect its myriad manifestations around the world. This makes Atkinson’s last contribution to this topic all the more important, as he critically examines how poverty is currently measured and proposes a new model.

The book provides a revised approach to perennial questions about poverty – what is poverty in the modern context? How much poverty is there around the globe? Why does it persist in rich and poor countries alike?

In answering those questions, Atkinson provides a clearer measurement of how much poverty is present and where. Starting from basic principles of poverty, Atkinson steadily formalises concrete measures consolidating not just financial poverty but also other indicators of deprivation. From there, Atkinson examines poverty in sixty countries and integrates that data with figures from international organisations, reaching a more complete portrait of poverty in the 21st Century.

These metrics are essential foundations for raising awareness, prompting action and designing effective policies to countenance poverty in all its forms. Moreover, Atkinson’s treatment of those questions provides better measurement of progress in poverty reduction, essential for accountability of policymakers in those areas.

Although Atkinson died before completing the book, it was edited by John Micklewright and Andrea Brandolini and finished with contributions from Nicholas Stern and François Bourguignon. The book comes with endorsements from Amartya Sen and Thomas Piketty.

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Data and figures of the book

About the Author

Anthony Atkinson (1944-2017) was a well-respected economist, Fellow of Nuffield College at the University of Oxford and Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics. Throughout his career he pioneered the study of poverty and inequality.

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