We present the first study of multidimensional poverty in Benin using the consensual or socially perceived necessities approach. There is a remarkable level consensus about what constitutes the necessities of life and minimal standards of living. Following Townsend’s concept of relative deprivation, we show how social consensus provides the basis for a reliable and valid index of multiple deprivation, which can be used to reflect multidimensional poverty. We discuss the issue of adaptive preferences, which has previously been used to criticise the consensual approach, and provide evidence to contest the claim that the poor adjust their aspirations downwards.
- Consensual approach
- Socially perceived necessities
- West Africa