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Testing the Expert Based Weights Used in the UK’s Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) Against Three Preference-Based Methods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Verity Watson
  • Chris Dibben
  • Matt Cox
  • Iain Atherton
  • Matt Sutton
  • Mandy Ryan

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Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


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.

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