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

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

Photo of John Gaventa More details

Juan-Carlos Munoz-Mora photo More details

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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Photo of Sir Richard Jolly More details

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Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA)

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) is a five-year, DFID-funded, research programme consortium which aims to produce new evidence and policy insights into different pathways to agricultural commercialisation in Africa and their differential outcomes for local people and economies. More details

Analysis of Maharashtra’s Decline in Childhood Stunting

UNICEF and IDS are collaborating to undertake an in-depth analysis of the factors that may have led to the 16% decline in child stunting in Maharashtra evidenced in surveys covering the period 2006-2012. More details

Burundi Graduation Programme Evaluation

In December 2012, Concern Burundi launched its 'Graduation Model Programme' in two provinces in Burundi to work with extremely poor and marginalised communities. More details

Challenging the Investment Climate Paradigm: Governance and Growth in Vietnam

This project examines a key assumption which underlies one of the main approaches to poverty reduction currently advocated and practised by many international development agencies. More details

Child Vulnerability Assessment, UNICEF Myanmar

IDS has been commissioned to analyse the most recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) data and write a report on child vulnerability, which can be utilized for evidence based programming and advocacy to improve children's status in Myanmar. More details

DAC Development Debate

On 13 June 2012 the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) hosted its third DAC Development Debate (DDD). Centring on the theme New poverty patterns: Where will the poor live? More details

Developing the Inclusive Economies Measurement Framework: Applying to Different Contexts and Exploring Theories of Change

The Rockefeller Foundation defines inclusive economies as ones that are equitable, participatory, growing, stable, and sustainable. This project is developing and applying indicators of inclusive economies at sub-national scales, such as cities and intra-national market systems. More details

DFID Innovation Prizes for Environment and Development

Running innovation prizes that will improve poor people's resilience to climate change. More details

Environment and PRSPs

This research project was initiated and conceptualised in the framework of the Poverty Environment Partnership (PEP), an informal network of around 30-donor and non-governmental organisations that works on strengthening the nexus between poverty reduction and environmental protection in development cooperation. More details

Fighting Over Land: Theory and Empirical Evidence from Colombia

The aim of this project is to develop a research agenda on the long-term effect of civil conflict on institutions, particularly on land tenure structure, in Colombia. More details

Food Security, Gender Equality and Peace-Building: Theoretical Framework and Future Agendas

IDS researchers have been commissioned to generate knowledge and evidence-based, actionable recommendations to governments and other stakeholders on the nexus between support to food and nutrition security and building resilient livelihoods, peace processes and stability, and how to integrate gender issues into appropriate policies and actions related to food and nutrition security in situations where conflict exists, has recently ceased, or is likely to reoccur. More details

Future Research Leaders ‘Reducing Poverty in the First 18 years of Life'

This proposed research responds to these concerns by using monetary and non-monetary measures to analyse child poverty dynamics, assessing overlaps and mismatches between those measures and investigating reasons for potential differences More details

Groundwater Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa (GroFutures)

GroFutures is a 4-year interdisciplinary research project aiming to develop the scientific basis and participatory management processes by which groundwater resources can be used sustainably for poverty alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa. More details

Haitian Graduation Research

The Haitian Graduation Research Programme is a partnership between IDS and Fonkoze. The research has five components designed to understand better the impact of Fonkoze's Graduation Programme for the extreme poor. More details

IDS BRAC Partnership: ESRC Funded Research on Graduation as Reslilience

What determines the success of a poverty eradication programme? More details

Impact Evaluation for the UNICEF SCT Project in Oromia and SNNPR

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is collaborating with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) to conduct an impact evaluation of the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) programme in Oromia and SNNP Regions of Ethiopia for UNICEF Ethiopia. More details

Impact Evaluation of Swedfund's Poverty Impact

This project addresses the following question: Have the investments undertaken by Swedfund contributed to poverty reduction and, if so, to what extent and how? More details

Informal Work and Wellbeing in Urban South Asia: Who Succeeds, Who Fails and Under What Conditions?

This study proposes an exploration of the determinants of wellbeing for informal workers living in informal settlements across a diverse set of urbanising localities in Bangladesh and India. We will present empirical evidence on what patterns and gradations of wellbeing success and failure are emerging for women and men engaged in informal work and living in informal settlements. More details

Market Based Solutions for the Extreme Poor

Studies have shown that it is often wealthier people in a community who benefit from market approaches to combatting poverty – men more than women, non-disabled more than disabled. So how and to what extent can market-based solutions improve the lives of extremely poor people? More details

Pathways to Inclusive Development through Innovation, Technology and Change

Pathways to Inclusive Development through Innovation, Technology and Change is developing a framework to analyse alternative pathways that link different forms of technological innovation, and evaluate resulting structural change and inclusion outcomes in low-income countries. More details

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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

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

CDIPracticePaper_15

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

CDIPracticePaper14_FrontCover

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

IDS publications on international development research

Kenya: Year 3 Findings from the Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility Study in Mukuru And Lango Baya, Kenya

In particular, we were interested in a) the incentives for the consumption of processed foods, b) the worries attached to their consumption and c) the structures in place to address some of these concerns. More details

Reducing poverty in the first 18 years of life: Burundi illustration

Réduire la pauvreté durant les 18 premières années de vie: Burundi

Cette illustration présente conjointement les résultats du projet de recherche sur la pauvreté infantile monétaire et multidimensionnelle ainsi que de l’évaluation du programme ‘Terintambwe’ de Concern Worldwide au Burundi. More details

Reducing poverty in the first 18 years of life: Burundi illustration

Reducing poverty in the first 18 years of life: Burundi

This illustration presents combined findings from a research project on monetary and multidimensional child poverty and the evaluation of Concern Worldwide’s ‘Terintambwe’ programme in Burundi. More details

ER153_FrontCover

Sexuality, Poverty and the Law: A Case Study Approach for Exploring Avenues of Change

IDS Evidence Report 153 (2015)

There is increasing pressure in international development to demonstrate that aid spending has an impact. This includes spending on policy research. More details

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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

Fortunate developments: a personal reflection

21 Mar 2016
By Ben Ramalingam

Breaking the cycle of poverty

16 Mar 2016
By Richard Jolly
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