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.

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Key contacts

Image of Jodie Thorpe
Jodie Thorpe

Research Fellow, Cluster Leader


+44 (0)1273 915732



Image of Amrita Saha
Amrita Saha

Post Doctoral Researcher

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



Linking Participation and Economic Advancement

In this project, IDS will draw upon and expand its rich experience at the forefront of thinking about participation in development, and our emerging work at the intersection of participation and markets. We will co-create along with the Economic Advancement Program (EAP) at the Open Society...

Recent work

Past Event

How China became rich: can we engineer economic growth?

Lecture Slides The seminar offered: an eyewitness’s account of what had happened in Guangdong province, a neighbouring Chinese province to Hong Kong in the early 1990s. Guangdong succeeded in changing its mode of operation from socialism to capitalism. This presentation proposes to see the...

4 February 2019