Poverty

IDS research and analysis aims to improve understanding of the geography and causes of poverty and vulnerability, and produce effective remedies towards poverty reduction.

Poverty research - woman on railway track

Eradicating poverty in all its forms remains one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. Globally, more than 800 million people are still living on less than US$1.25 a day. There are many dimensions to their deprivation, low and irregular incomes, lack of safe drinking water, poor housing, limited access to health and education, and social exclusion and discrimination. Their poverty makes them extremely vulnerable to natural and economic hazards. In many cases, extreme poverty persists over time. Importantly, poverty is not only about 'poor' people but also about the social and economic inequalities that compound and reproduce poverty. Social structures and relationships between the poor and the non-poor, middle class and elites and donors and NGOs are also key.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a bold commitment to end poverty in all forms and dimensions by 2030. This involves targeting the most vulnerable, increasing access to basic resources and services, and supporting communities affected by conflict and climate-related disasters. Conventional frameworks for understanding development and poverty have focused on money, commodities and economic growth. Our research seeks to challenge orthodox views on the nature of poverty and contribute to a new paradigm for development centred on human wellbeing that will contribute to the achievement of the Gobal Goals. 

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Photo of Becky Mitchell More details

Photo of Cathérine Müller, Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction research team More details

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Photo of Edoardo Massett More details

Honorary Associate Ted Jackson More details

Photo of Inka Barnett More details

Photo of Jackie Shaw, Research Fellow in the Participation research cluster More details

Photo of Jerker Edstrom More details

Photo of Jo Howard, Research Fellow in the IDS Participation cluster More details

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Juan-Carlos Munoz-Mora photo More details

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Photo of Keetie Roelen, Research Fellow in the Centre for Social Protection, IDS More details

Photo of Lars Otto Naess More details

Photo of Martin Greeley, IDS Research Fellow More details

IDS staff or research student More details

Photo of Naomi Hossain, IDS Research Fellow More details

Photo of Neil McCulloch More details

Photo of Nick Nisbett, IDS Research Fellow in the Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction team More details

Photo of Patricia Justino, IDS Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Research Fellow More details

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Brazil and International Development Cooperation

Brazil is a founding member of the BRICS group, Latin America's largest economy and the world's sixth-largest economy. The Rising Powers in International Development (RPID) programme is looking at Brazil's growing role in the field of international development cooperation. More details

China and International Development Cooperation

China is now the African continent's biggest trading partner, and also involved in a wide range of development cooperation projects including in agriculture, health and social policy. The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of China in the field of international development cooperation. More details

Critical Research Social Justice and International Aid

Seminar series for inter-disciplinary discussions on the relationship between research, aid and social justice More details

Digital Development: IDS and DFAT InnovationXchange collaboration

This six month collaboration between the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's InnovationXchange (iXc) and the Digital and Technology cluster will strengthen DFAT’s capability to appropriately use technology to more effectively deliver aid outcomes, building on its existing expertise and experience. More details

Ebola Response Anthropology Platform

Anthropologists from around the world providing advice on how to engage with crucial socio-cultural and political dimensions of the Ebola outbreak and build locally-appropriate interventions. More details

Ebola: Lessons for development

IDS researchers argue that there is an urgent need to look beyond the immediate, on-the-ground concerns of disease control and containment to consider the bigger and broader questions about international development. More details

India and International Development Cooperation

Trade and investment linkages between India and the African continent have been growing rapidly, and recently, its role providing foreign assistance has become more prominent. The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of India in the field of international development cooperation. More details

International Public Opinion Monitor

The International Public Opinion Monitor aims to understand how everyday citizens see the world in which live, and how their attitudes change (or not) over time. More details

Public Perceptions of International Development in the UK

With the world economy in a major downturn, the stakes for developing countries could not be higher. Public support for international development and aid will play a key role. But is there a domestic consensus on the UK's role in international development and what are its contours? More details

Russia and International Development Cooperation

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia was redefined as an aid recipient, but in 2007, it officially signalled its intention to reverse this role. The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of Russia in the field of international development cooperation More details

Strengthening the Capacity of the International Poverty Reduction Center in China for South-South Cooperation

This project, funded by the Chinese Government's Ministry Of Commerce, is aimed at addressing how IDA is given to developing countries (particularly Africa) and if there are ways of improving China's development assistance to create opportunities for independent development. More details

The New Bottom Billion

New IDS research shows that the global poverty 'problem' is changing. There is a new 'bottom billion' of 960m poor people or 72 per cent of the world's poor who live not in poor countries but in middle-income countries (MICs). More details

View all Research Theme's publications

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PB150_Cover

What Are the Implications of Ageing and Demographic Change in Rwanda?

IDS Policy Briefing 150 (2018)

Having made rapid improvements in life expectancy and fertility as a result of significant investments in the health system and reductions in poverty, Rwanda faces the positive prospects of a ‘demographic dividend’. However, the projected growth in the number of older people over the next 30 years will present significant challenges. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Fonkoze's CLM Ultra Poverty Programme: Understanding and Improving Child Development and Wellbeing

This report represents baseline findings from a quantitative evaluation assessing the impact of Fonkoze’s Chemen Lavi Miyò (CLM) programme, or 'the pathway to a better life' programme, on child wellbeing in Haiti. The CLM programme is a so-called ‘graduation programme’, aiming to set people on a sustainable pathway out of poverty. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Public-Private Collaborations: Can they Deliver Secure and Inclusive Rural Economies?

This paper looks at the role of public-private collaborations, specifically public-private partnerships (PPPs), in enabling secure and inclusive rural economies. More details

Wp489_FrontCover

Shame, Poverty and Social Protection

IDS Working Paper 489 (2017)

Despite long-standing conceptual considerations of shame in understanding poverty and debates about its moral, social and emotional qualities, the role of shame in poverty reduction policies remains largely unexplored. More details

NewDirections_brief

Reframing Gender Justice in an Unequal, Volatile World: IDS’ Directions for Future Research on Gender and Sexuality in Development

At a time of major changes in global politics and trends, and major shifts in international development following the establishment of the global Sustainable Development Goals in Agenda 2030, the Gender and Sexuality cluster at the Institute of Development Studies engaged in collaborative discussions and consultations over nine months with partner organisations, networks, external experts and policymakers. More details

NewDirections_report

Reframing Gender Justice in an Unequal, Volatile World: IDS’ Directions for Future Research on Gender and Sexuality in Development

We here aim to outline priority directions for future research on gender and sexuality in development, which are needed to advance our understanding of gender and sexuality in an increasingly unequal, polarised and volatile world. More details

PB132_FrontCover

Towards Secure and Decent Work for Migrant Youth in Ghana

IDS Policy Briefing 132 (2017)

Poverty and poor livelihood prospects are driving tens of thousands of young people from rural northern regions to southern cities in Ghana in the hope of achieving better jobs and greater social mobility. More details

PB131_FrontCover

Why Youth Aspirations and Family Circumstances Matter for Entrepreneurship Interventions

IDS Policy Briefing 131 (2017)

Over the last decade the Government of Tanzania has invested in entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and poverty. It has developed various national policies and guidelines alongside entrepreneurship programmes in partnership with development actors and financial institutions, particularly for youth from poor backgrounds. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Linking Taxation and Social Protection: Evidence on Redistribution and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia

ICTD Working Paper 61 (2017)

This paper aims to jointly assess the distributional effect of taxes and transfers, through social protection, using Ethiopia as a case study. More details

This is the front cover to IDS Bulletin 472A, 'States, Markets and Society –
New Relationships for a New Development Era'.

States, Markets and Society – New Relationships for a New Development Era

IDS Bulletin 47.2A (2016)

‘How does change happen?’ and ‘How should change happen and how can it be enabled?’ are key questions analysed in this IDS Bulletin, drawing on the Institute of Development Studies’ reflections on States, Markets and Society as a theme of its 50th Anniversary year. More details

This is the front cover of MAVC Practice Paper Crowdsourcing Citizen Feedback on District Development in Ghana Using Interactive Voice Response Surveys

Crowdsourcing Citizen Feedback on District Development in Ghana Using Interactive Voice Response Surveys

This practice paper describes research carried out by VOTO Mobile, a Ghanaian tech company and social enterprise, and CDD-Ghana, a non-profit organisation focusing on good governance. More details

Waterlines Journal coverpage

Urban Community-Led Total Sanitation: A Potential Way Forward for Co-Producing Sanitation Services

Waterlines 35.4 (2016)

This article explores whether Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) can be used in peri-urban and urban areas to help co-produce sanitation facilities More details

IDS publications on international development research

Consequences and Futures of Inequalities (an introduction to Part II)

If we continue on the pathway of growing inequality, what will the consequences be? What are the possibilities of alternative pathways which take us to a fairer world? What will be the critical tipping points along the way? More details

Non-IDS publication

‘Girls Don’t Become Craftsmen’: Determinants and Experiences of Child Labour in Gemstone Polishing in Jaipur

The Journal of Development Studies (2016)

This journal article explores the determinants and valuations of children’s work and schooling choices drawing on primary mixed-methods research in the gemstone polishing industry of Jaipur, India. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Accessing the ‘Right’ Kinds of Material and Symbolic Capital: the Role of Cash Transfers in Reducing Adolescent School Absence and Risky Behaviour in South Africa

The Journal of Development Studies 52.8 (2016)

This article investigates how well South Africa's Child Support Grant (CSG) responds to the material and psychosocial needs of adolescents, and the resultant effects on schooling and risky behaviour. More details

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Bridging the Gap: Synthesising Evidence from Secondary Quantitative and Primary Qualitative Data

CDI Practice Paper 15 (2016)

There is widespread recognition that mixed-methods approaches are a ‘platinum standard’ in research and evaluation and that the expanding availability of secondary quantitative data creates unprecedented opportunities for studying poverty and evaluating poverty reduction programmes. More details

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Balancing Inclusiveness, Rigour and Feasibility: Insights from Participatory Impact Evaluations in Ghana and Vietnam

CDI Practice Paper 14 (2016)

This paper by Adinda Van Hemelrijck and Irene Guijt explores how impact evaluation can live up to standards broader than statistical rigour in ways that address challenges of complexity and enable stakeholders to engage meaningfully. More details

Non-IDS publication

Time Discounting and Credit Market Access in a Large-Scale Cash Transfer Programme

Journal of African Economies 25.3 (2016)

In this Journal article, we provide evidence on whether a national poverty alleviation programme in Kenya can affect inter-temporal decisions. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Ethiopia: Year 3 Findings from the Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility Study

With regards to processed foods and food perceived to be unsafe, we found that fast food consumption has significantly increased in the last few years. It is supplied at low prices and many find it affordable, easily accessible and some consider it to be nutritious. However, some have expressed their concern over hygiene while others fear that it would expose many families to economic problem because husbands and children are progressively eating outside and do not bring money home. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Evaluation Of The Social Cash Transfers Pilot Programme, Tigray Region, Ethiopia – Endline Report

The International Food Policy Research Institute, together with its collaborators, the Institute of Development Studies and the Department of Economics, Mekelle University, has produced this fourth report on the evaluation of the Social Cash Transfer Pilot Programme (SCTPP) implemented by the Bureau of Social and Labour Affairs (BoLSA), regional Government of Tigray. . More details

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Poverty is also a psychosocial problem

20 Nov 2017
By Keetie Roelen

Child marriage campaigns are missing the point

11 Oct 2017
By Nicola Ansell

Globally, the fires of inequality rage on

20 Jun 2017
By Jaideep Gupte

Can renewable energy help address poverty in China?

07 Nov 2016
By Sam Geall, Wei Shen

The paradox of protest in LA

27 May 2016
By Patricia Justino, Bruno Martorano
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