Inclusive absolute well-being changes: An application with multidimensional cross-country analysis

Light refreshments from Currydor, a local Indian restaurant in Oxford, will be served to in-person attendees.

The world has continued to witness prosperity in terms of poverty reduction and well-being improvement, but one cannot overstate the importance of examining whether the improvement is evenly shared or is being inclusive to all. In this paper, we propose a general quantile-based approach based on absolute changes that allow assessing and robustly examining inclusiveness of well-being for non-monetary indicators that are bounded in nature and can have both attainment and shortfall representations. Our empirical analysis of inclusiveness uses a multidimensional measure of well-being that is closely linked to the flagship global multidimensional poverty index and examine inclusiveness of well-being changes for 80 developing countries covering six different geographic regions. We observe robust improvements in well-being for most countries in our study, but only around three-fifth of all countries show robust inclusiveness. Further geographical analyses show that the same figure is less than one-third for the sub-Saharan African region. Our proposed framework could play an important role in jointly meeting the SDG targets of reducing inequality within countries and reducing poverty in multiple dimensions.