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

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


Democratising economic power – reflections on Davos

As the world’s economic elites gather in Davos, I am reflecting on a blog I wrote last year in reaction to the 2019 World Economic Forum focus on “Globalisation 4.0”. Entitled ‘Putting the spotlight on “participation” in economic alternatives’, the blog questioned the Davos model...

20 January 2020


UK-Africa Investment Summit – Five principles for a progressive trade policy

Today the UK Government is hosting the UK-Africa Investment Summit, which aims to promote the UK as a key investment partner for Africa and ‘create new lasting partnerships that will deliver more investment, jobs and growth.’ Researchers at IDS have been looking at the benefits and risks of...

20 January 2020


UK-Africa investment must not overlook African entrepreneurs

On 20 January, the UK-Africa Investment Summit takes place in London. According to DFID, the focus is on “investment opportunities”, “lasting partnerships”, “jobs, growth and sustainability”.  A forthcoming paper I have been working on with colleagues from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya,...

17 January 2020

Past Event

South-South and Triangular Trade and Investment for Development

The rising prominence of South–South and triangular trade and investments has generated interest as a pathway to sustainable economic development. https://www.facebook.com/idsuk/videos/477476333184881/ Bringing together diverse experiences, this exciting panel of academic researchers,...

16 January 2020