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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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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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

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IDS staff or research student More details

Photo of Naomi Hossain, IDS Research Fellow More details

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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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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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View all Research Theme's publications

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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

IDS publications on international development research

Developing a Research Agenda for CLM, Fonkoze's Graduation Programme for the Extreme Poor in Haiti

Graduation programmes offer ultra poor families an integrated package of tailored interventions. These interventions work together to help the families develop the economic, social and psychological assets they need to remove themselves from the worst of extreme poverty within 18-24 months and to enable themselves to continue to progress even after the intervention is over. More details


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


Developing More Effective Strategies for Sex Work, Law and Poverty

IDS Policy Briefing 101 (2015)

The welfare of female sex workers in low-income countries has attracted significant attention in recent years. In line with human rights and development goals, advocacy focuses on decriminalisation of sex work, attaining economic rights, ending violence and improving sexual and reproductive health. More details


Reducing Poverty in the First 18 Years of Life: Ethiopia

This illustration presents findings from a research project on monetary and multidimensional child poverty in Ethiopia. It is based on information from the Ethiopia Rural Household Surveys (ERHS) 1999, 2004 and 2009 and discussions with 61 children and 88 adults in Tigray region in August 2013. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Reducing Poverty in the First 18 Years of Life: Monetary and Multidimensional Child Poverty in Vietnam

This research brief presents findings from a mixed methods research project on monetary and multidimensional child poverty in Vietnam. More details


Reducing Poverty in the First 18 Years of Life: Vietnam

This illustration presents findings from a research project on monetary and multidimensional child poverty in Vietnam based on survey data from the Government Statistical Office (GSO) from 2004, 2006 and 2008 and discussions with 78 children and 145 adults in Mekong River Delta Region in October 2013. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Reducing Poverty in the First 18 Years of Life: Monetary and Multi-dimensional Child Poverty in Ethiopia

This research brief presents findings from a mixed methods research project on monetary and multidimensional child poverty in Ethiopia. It uses data from the Ethiopia Rural Household Surveys (ERHS) 1999, 2004, 2009 and purposively collected qualitative data from 61 children and 88 adults in Tigray region to understand patterns and drivers of monetary and multidimensional child poverty. More details


Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy: Outputs April 2014 – March 2015

Accountable Grant Outputs Brochure (2015)

In much writing about development, policy and practice are portrayed as if they are joined at the hip. Policy shapes practice, while learning from practice informs policy processes. In this portrayal, practice is usually understood to refer to development practice, or how development programmes and projects are implemented. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Report: New Frontiers for Evaluation in an Era of Market-Oriented Development: Monday 20–Wednesday 22 July 2015

As part of the International Year of Evaluation 2015, this Wilton Park convened meeting gave evaluation professionals, development partners, and investors an open forum to review recent evaluation experience, debate evaluation governance issues, and probe the methodological questions brought about by the market-based revolution. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Effect of Gender Equality Programming on Humanitarian Outcomes

This UN Women report presents the overall findings, draws comparative conclusions across the four case studies and discusses practical recommendations for integrating gender equality programming in future humanitarian interventions in ways that strengthen effectiveness and inclusiveness. More details

Non-IDS publication

Logics Of Government Innovation And Reform Management In China

STEPS Working Paper 85 (2015)

Since the beginning of reforms in the late 1970s, China has developed rapidly, transforming itself into a middle-income country, raising hundreds of millions out of poverty and, latterly, developing broad-based social protection systems. More details

Front cover of the book "The Political Economy of Microfinance: the financialization of poverty" by Dr Philip Mader

The Political Economy of Microfinance - Financializing Poverty

This book helps to understand the enigmatic microfinance sector by tracing its evolution and asking how it works as a financial system. More details

Evidence Report 135 Front Cover

Pro-Poor Access to Green Electricity in Kenya

IDS Evidence Report 135 (2015)

Is Kenya on track to follow an electrification strategy that is green and pro-poor? What are the main challenges to following this path? The two questions guiding this study are particularly relevant in a country with exceptional renewable energy resources, but where 80 per cent of the population lacks access to electricity and 50 per cent lives in poverty. More details


Sexuality, Poverty and Politics in Rwanda

IDS Evidence Report 131 (2015)

Recent legislative developments in Africa have focused international attention on the legal status of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the continent. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Utilising Electricity Access for Poverty Reduction - Literature Review

The literature review generated insight into the findings of previous studies regarding productive uses of electricity and poverty impacts, and was used to inform the design of the case study research. More details

IDS publications on international development research

La Vie en Temps de Volatilite du Prix des Produits Alimentaires: Évolution des Habitudes Alimentaires: Points de vue sur les Aliments Transformés et Les Aliments Dangereux

Le projet de recherche sur la sécurité alimentaire en temps de volatilité des prix mené par le Département socio-économie et anthropologie du développement (DSEAD) de l’Institut des Sciences des Sociétés avec le Financement de l’ONG Oxfam et en partenariat scientifique avec Institute of Development Studies (IDS) vise à décrire et analyser les conditions de vie en temps de volatilité des prix des aliments. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Bangladesh: Year 3 Findings from the Life in a Time Of Food Price Volatility Study

In 2014, Bangladesh has been placed at the 142nd position among 187 countries on UNDP Human Development Index, progressing upwards by one place from 2013. Bangladesh has also been placed among 18 countries making the fastest progress in human development for year 2014 by the UN (UNDP Human Development Index, 2014). According to the International Food Policy Research Institute’s report, Bangladesh is among the countries that “saw the largest improvements” in Global Hunger Index 2014 (Prothom Alo, Oct 13, 2014). More details