Developing Morally Plausible Indices of Poverty and Gender Equity

Philosophical Topics 37 (2):199-221 (2009)
Various indices are used to track poverty, development, and gender equity at the population level. Some of them—the UNDP’s Human and Gender-RelatedDevelopment Indices and the World Bank’s Poverty Index associated with the first Millennium Development Goal—have become highly influential. This paper argues that these prominent indices are deeply flawed and therefore distort our moral judgments and misguide resource allocations by governments, international agencies, and NGOs. Examination of these flaws reveals useful pointers toward developing better indices—though much interdisciplinary work will be needed before sound and practicable indices are actually available
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind
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ISBN(s) 0276-2080
DOI 10.5840/philtopics200937212
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