Business, Markets and the State

The debate on business, markets and states in development has a long history, marked by enormous controversy. Many problems of underdevelopment result from market failures, and often business has contributed to these failures, leading to a backlash against markets and against business.

More recently, there has been recognition that business and markets have a major impact on human development and the natural environment, with new market-focused solutions, initiatives and partnerships emerging. However, there are big knowledge gaps.

This IDS cluster investigates how and under what conditions businesses and market systems enable or constrain pathways that deliver development and curb inequalities, and the role of the state in these processes, and is currently developing its programme of work through the IDS Business and Development Centre.

IDS Business and Development Centre

With a focus on priorities for research and practical action, the Business and Development Centre will generate new evidence on:

  • impacts of business and markets on development and inequality
  • most effective areas for business and markets to play a positive role
  • the role of states regulators, enablers and partners.

Sign up to receive updates and follow us on Twitter.

Key contacts

Image of Jodie Thorpe
Jodie Thorpe

Research Fellow, Cluster Leader


+44 (0)1273 915732



Image of Amrita Saha
Amrita Saha

Research Fellow

Image of Carlos Fortin
Carlos Fortin

Research Associate

Image of Edward Jackson
Edward Jackson

Honorary Associate

Image of Evert-Jan Quak
Evert-Jan Quak

Research Officer

Image of Jing Gu
Jing Gu

Research Fellow, Centre Director

Image of Jodie Thorpe
Jodie Thorpe

Research Fellow, Cluster Leader

Image of Lizbeth Navas-Aleman
Lizbeth Navas-Aleman

Honorary Associate



Handbook of Financialization

Financialization has become the go-to term for scholarship that studies the vastly expanded role of finance in contemporary politics, economy and society. The concept itself has equally expanded and evolved from a niche research theme in critical scholarship to one that informs an increasingly...

Recent work


2019 Nobel* prize reveals the poverty of economics

The three new Laureates deserve the prize in economics in memory of Alfred Nobel. But the award shows how poor the modern economics discipline is in terms of gender equality, research methods, self-examination, and genuine insight into the lives of the poor. Congratulations are due to the...

Image of Philip Mader
Philip Mader & 3 others

17 October 2019


Food certification schemes, impact and existential questions

Certification systems, like Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and organic agriculture are crucial social capital in the food system. They need to show that they are credible. Therefore, a large part of published research on sustainability in food production concerns the impact of certification. The...

31 July 2019