Concepts of development and poverty have continued to change. Such changes have significant impacts both on practical economic development policies and on the measurements of poverty and development. This thesis focuses on issues of poverty measurement in the context of the economic development literature and in the context of the particular case of Bali as a case study. Sen has provided a lead in rendering poverty as a multidimensional phenomenon in terms of the idea of human "capabilities". Such ideas have yet to penetrate into the mainstream of poverty analysis among economists. Limited dimensions of poverty such as educational attainment, health status or risks are sometimes now incorporated as key ingredients of well-being, as monetary measures come to be systematically supplemented by one dimension or another of nonmonetary poverty. Incorporation of other dimensions such as lack of human rights still seems a long way off.
Global poverty measurement remains a difficult issue and many apparent changes of poverty levels - in Bali or elsewhere - may be mere artifices, or accidental results of relatively thoughtless acceptance of one indexing technique rather than another. Today a large compilation of data allows policy makers to see a more broadly based, more accurate and more reliable picture of poverty in a region than is presently available from just per capita GDP, HDI or HP I. It is entirely possible that the appearance of an improvement in poverty levels on one measure may turn out to be the opposite when other poverty measures are used. This of course is a matter of the most fundamental importance for policy makers and resource allocation. In Indonesia's context a 1% variation in a poverty measure involves more than 2 million people. In Bali's case, such a 1% variation involves some 30,000 people. It follows that when poverty is mis-specified many lives are at stake.
Viable policymaking depends upon prior access to accurate, meaningful statistical yardsticks. This thesis provides the most complete picture of poverty and its trends yet available in Bali, including a picture of poverty at the level of the nine administrative districts within Bali.