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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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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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

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

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

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This is the image for 'From Poverty to Power: How Active Citizens and Effective States can Change the World'.

From Poverty to Power: How Active Citizens and Effective States can Change the World

The twenty-first century will be defined by the fight against the scourges of poverty, inequality, and the threat of environmental collapse - as the fight against slavery or for universal suffrage defined earlier eras. More details

Resilience: New Utopia or New Tyranny?

IDS Working Paper 405 (2012)

Resilience is becoming influential in development and vulnerability reduction sectors such as social protection, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Policy makers, donors and international development agencies are now increasingly referring to the term. More details

Non-IDS publication

Households Amidst Urban Riots: The Economic Consequences of Civil Violence in India

HiCN Working Paper 126 (2012)

Published as part of the Households in Conflict Network (HiCN) series, the objective of this paper is to uncover the determinants of riot victimisation in India. The analysis is based on a unique survey collected by the authors in March-May 2010 in Maharashtra. More details

Non-IDS publication

Returning Home after Civil War: The Consequences of Forced Displacement for Food Security, Nutrition and Poverty among Burundese Households

HICN Working Paper 123 (2012)

Published as part of the Households in Conflict Network (HiCN) series, this working paper investigates the food security and poverty of formerly displaced persons and their household. More details

Non-IDS publication

The Agency and Governance of Urban Battlefields: How Riots Alter Our Understanding of Adequate Urban Living

HiCN Working Paper 122 (2012)

For the first time in close to 100 years, India reports higher population growth in its urbanised areas than across its vast rural landscape. However, a confluence of vast urbanisation and scarcity of resources has implied heightened levels of localised violence, centred in and around already impoverished neighbourhoods. This therefore has a disproportionate impact in further marginalising poor communities, and is at odds with the notion that cities are incontestably and inevitably the context of sustained poverty eradication. More details

Non-IDS publication

The Economic Consequences of Forced Displacement

HiCN Working Paper 137 (2012)

Part of the Households in Conflict (HiCN) series, this paper presents the first causal evidence of the effect of displacement. Currently, nearly 44 million people around the world are forcibly displaced. Researchers have posited that the effect of this movement has led to severe impacts on the populations, but due to estimation and data difficulties, little is known about the causal impact of this movement on livelihoods. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Child Wellbeing in Kazakhstan

Unicef (2012)

Kazakhstan, a resource-rich country in Central Asia, has witnessed strong and continuous economic growth until 2007, when the financial and economic crisis hit the country. More details

This is the image for IDS Working Paper 394, 'From Deprivation to Distribution: Is Global Poverty Becoming A Matter
of National Inequality?'.

From Deprivation to Distribution: Is Global Poverty Becoming A Matter of National Inequality?

IDS Working Paper 394 (2012)

This paper asks the following question: does the shift in global poverty towards middle-income countries (MICs) mean that global poverty is becoming a matter of national inequality? More details

This is the image for IDS Working Paper 393, 'Where Do The World’s Poor Live? A New Update'.

Where Do The World’s Poor Live? A New Update

IDS Working Paper 393 (2012)

This paper revisits, with new data, the changes in the distribution of global poverty towards middle-income countries (MICs). In doing so it discusses an implied 'poverty paradox' – the fact that most of the world's extreme poor no longer live in the world's poorest countries. More details

This is the image for IDS Working Paper 392, 'What Do National Poverty Lines Tell Us About Global Poverty?'.

What Do National Poverty Lines Tell Us About Global Poverty?

IDS Working Paper 392 (2012)

The basic question about ‘how many poor people are there in the world?’ generally assumes that poverty is measured according to international poverty lines (IPLs). Yet, an equally relevant question could be ‘how many poor people are there in the world, based on how poverty is defined where those people live?’ More details

IDS publications on international development research

Lessons Learned and Ways Forward - Pathways to Protection – Referral Mechanisms and Case Management for Vulnerable Children in Eastern and Southern Africa

There is a need for a more comprehensive and systematic response, of which referral mechanisms and case management are crucial elements. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Egypt Elections: Islamic Dictatorship or Mlitary Authoritarianism

Egyptians choose between Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and Ahmed Shafik, a military man redolent of the old regime. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Cohort Profile: Young Lives a Cohort Study on Childhood Poverty in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam

International Journal of Epidemiology 5.5 (2012)

Young Lives is an international longitudinal study investigating the changing nature of childhood poverty in four low-income countries Ethiopia, India (Andhra Pradesh), Peru and Vietnam over a 15-year period. More details

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing

Using Human Security Principles to Develop a Post-2015 Framework

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 24 (2012)

2015 marks the deadline for achieving the MDGs and it is widely recognised that simply renewing the goals in their current format will not be sufficient. A more analytical and inclusive approach is required, which could be achieved by using human security principles. More details

IDS Working Paper

War and Poverty

IDS Working Paper 391 (2012)

The main objective of this IDS Working Paper is to systematically identify potential channels of transmission linking civil war and poverty that may lead to the persistence of cycles of poverty and war. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Reframing Aid in a World Where the Poor Live in Emerging Economies

International Development Policy (2012)

This special issue of International Development Policy analyses the major shifts affecting traditional development assistance, particularly with regard to global public policy and the emerging economies. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Poverty and Inequalities in Middle-Income Southeast Asia

This paper outlines a research agenda related to poverty in lower middle income Southeast Asia, notably Indonesia and Viet Nam. More details

IDS publications on international development research

To Politically Empower Women on a Global Scale we need more than Quotas

If we are serious about promoting gender justice, we must turn political empowerment upside down. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Decomposing the Ethnic Gap in Rural Vietnam, 1993-2004

Oxford Development Studies 40.1 (2012)

This paper examines and decomposes the gap in per capita expenditures between majority and minority ethnic groups in rural Vietnam between 1993 and 2004. Over this period, the real expenditure gap between rural Kinh and Chinese-headed households and those headed by ethnic minorities increased by 14.6%. More details