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Testing the expert based weights used in the UK’s Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) against three preference-based methods

Watson, Verity; Dibben, Chris; Cox, Matt; Atherton, Iain; Sutton, Matt; Ryan, Mandy


Verity Watson

Chris Dibben

Matt Cox

Matt Sutton

Mandy Ryan


The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), used widely in England, is an important tool for social need and inequality identification. It summarises deprivation across seven dimensions (income, employment, health, education, housing and services, environment, and crime) to measure an area’s multidimensional deprivation. The IMD aggregates the dimensions that are differentially weighted using expert judgement. In this paper, we test how close these weights are to society’s preferences about the relative importance of each dimension to overall deprivation. There is not agreement in the literature on how to do this. This paper, therefore, develops and compares three empirical methods for estimating preference-based weights. We find the weights are similar across the methods, and between our empirical methods and the current IMD, but our findings suggest a change to two of the weights.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 17, 2018
Online Publication Date Feb 1, 2019
Publication Date 2019-08
Deposit Date Nov 14, 2018
Publicly Available Date Feb 1, 2019
Journal Social Indicators Research
Print ISSN 0303-8300
Publisher BMC
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 144
Issue 3
Pages 1055-1074
Keywords multidimensional index weights, deprivation, preferences
Public URL
Contract Date Nov 14, 2018


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