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 Cathérine Müller, Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction research team More details

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Honorary Associate Ted Jackson More details

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pathways to Stronger Futures in Haiti

It is widely understood that poverty undermines early childhood development (ECD). In turn, poor ECD reinforces intergenerational transmission of poverty. Economic strengthening through comprehensive social protection may offer a 'double boon': it can improve ECD in the short-term and reduce poverty in the long-run. More details

Poverty, Politics, and Participatory Methodologies in SDC

This Collaboration with the Quality Assurance (QA) Programme of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is now in its second phase, running until December 2018. The aim of the program is to improve the quality and effectiveness of SDC processes and operations focused on poverty. More details

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Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability Centre logo

Sustainable Energy for All: Innovation, Technology and Pro-Poor Green Transformations

Despite decades of effort and billions of dollars spent, two thirds of people in sub-Saharan Africa still lack access to electricity, a vital pre-cursor to economic development and poverty reduction. 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

Monetary and Multidimensional Child Poverty: A Contradiction in Terms?

Development and Change 48.3 (2017)

Although the multidimensional nature of poverty is widely recognized, the extent to which monetary measures can serve as a proxy for non-monetary measures remains unresolved. This is of particular concern for children given their dependence on others for fulfilment of basic needs and assumptions about intra-household distribution that underpin monetary measures. 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

Non-IDS publication

Adapting To Risk And Perpetuating Poverty: Household’s Strategies For Managing Flood Risk And Water Scarcity In Mexico City

Adaptation is typically conceived uniquely in positive terms, however for some populations, investments in risk management can entail significant tradeoffs. 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

Strengthening Networks and Building Relationships to Increase the Impact of Global Development Research

Development research can contribute to improvements in policy and practice, research capacity and evidence-based policymaking processes. Achieving these kinds of impacts is most often a complex, multifaceted, political and contested process that, ultimately, depends on changing the attitudes and behaviours of key actors. This Learning Guide seeks to draw out some of the key lessons on successful approaches to developing and maintaining effective relationships and strong networks for impact. More details

Opportunities, Ownership and Tailored Outputs: How to Respond to Demand for Evidence

Many international development research projects aim to influence policy and practice by providing rigorous evidence that impacts on real-life decisions. To ensure the evidence they are generating engages their target audiences, researchers need to interact with a range of different actors, processes and systems – and work through knowledge intermediaries. More details

Engaging Research with Policy and Practice

How can research evidence influence policy and practice? This Learning Guide seeks to draw out some of the key lessons from on successful approaches and impact lessons on effective use of research evidence to engage policy and practice. More details

Designing Programmes to Maximise Mutual Learning

Learning from research is a significant enabler of research impact that contributes to sustainable development. This Learning Guide seeks to draw out some of the key lessons on successful approaches knowledge sharing and mutual learning. More details

Partnerships, Planning and Policy Windows: How to Engage Non-academics with International Development Research

Many international development research projects aim to go far beyond influencing academic debate - they also seek to build relationships and networks, influence attitudes and behaviours, and inform policy and practice. This Learning Guide seeks to draw out some of the key lessons on successful approaches to engaging non-academic audiences for impactful research. 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

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

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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

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

Graduation – how to do it responsibly

24 May 2016
By Stephen Devereux, Keetie Roelen, Rachel Sabates-Wheeler

Putting children at the centre of social protection in Nepal

23 May 2016
By Keetie Roelen, Helen Karki Chettri

Fortunate developments: a personal reflection

21 Mar 2016
By Ben Ramalingam

Breaking the cycle of poverty

16 Mar 2016
By Richard Jolly