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

Photo of Inka Barnett More details

Photo of Jackie Shaw, Research Fellow in the Participation research cluster More details

Photo of Jerker Edstrom More details

Photo of Jo Howard, Research Fellow in the IDS Participation cluster More details

Jody Harris photo More details

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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Photo of Martin Greeley, IDS Research Fellow More details

IDS staff or research student More details

Photo of Naomi Hossain, IDS Research Fellow More details

Photo of Neil McCulloch More details

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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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

IDS publications on international development research

Universal Truths or Hidden Realities - Chronic Poverty in Rural Ethiopia

Journal of International Development 26.7 (2014)

This paper uses quantitative and qualitative data collected by Young Lives, a longitudinal study of childhood poverty, to identify factors that contribute to households becoming or remaining poor in rural Ethiopia. More details


Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy: Outputs November 2012 – March 2014

Accountable Grant Outputs Brochure (2014)

Knowledge and evidence are important elements of all policy processes. While the availability of more or higher quality evidence does not guarantee better policy processes, it is difficult to imagine how development policy and outcomes can be improved without it. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Impact of Conflict on Poverty

This rapid review provides an overview of the latest evidence on the impact of conflict on poverty. More details

ER86 Front Cover

Maximisation of Benefits for the Poor of Investments in Renewable Electricity: A Policy Tool for Project Planning

IDS Evidence Report 86 (2014)

Energy poverty is a major development issue: nearly 1.2 billion people, or close to one-fifth of the world’s population, have no access to electricity. Close to 85 per cent of them live in rural areas After falling out of favour in the 1980s, electrification is again seen as central to poverty reduction efforts. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Transforming Social Protection: Human Wellbeing and Social Justice

The European Journal of Development Research 26.3 (2014)

This article calls for a moment of pause to consider the current direction of social protection thinking and practice. It introduces a special issue in which a range of authors explore the relationship between social protection and social justice. More details

ER85 Front Cover

South Africa Public Opinion Monitor: Causes of Poverty Survey Results

IDS Evidence Report 85 (2014)

The South Africa Public Opinion Monitor (SAPOM) is a longitudinal panel of 2,526 opinion leaders from across South Africa that aims to provide an ongoing monitor of opinions and perspectives on the economic and social development of South Africa, and on South Africa’s place in the wider world. More details

ER83 Front Cover

Brazil Public Opinion Monitor: Causes of Poverty Survey Results

IDS Evidence Report 83 (2014)

The Brazil Public Opinion Monitor (BPOM) is a longitudinal panel of 2,672 opinion leaders from across Brazil. It aims to provide an ongoing monitor of opinions and perspectives on the economic and social development of Brazil, and on Brazil’s place in the wider world. More details

ER80 Front Cover

Sex Workers, Empowerment and Poverty Alleviation in Ethiopia

IDS Evidence Report 80 (2014)

This case study explores economic, legal and social issues that affect sex workers, with a particular focus on the role of poverty in sex workers’ lives and the potential for poverty alleviation policies and programmes to help lift as many sex workers as possible out of poverty in order to reduce the exploitation, illness and violence associated with their work. More details

IDS publications on international development research

MQSUN Inception Report and Design Document: Impact Evaluation of the DFID Programme to Accelerate Improved Nutrition for the Extreme Poor in Bangladesh, Phase II

This Inception Report presents the objectives, design, expected outputs and governance of the Department for International Development (DFID)-funded MQSUN project, entitled ‘Impact Evaluation of the DFID Programme to Accelerate Improved Nutrition for the Extreme Poor in Bangladesh’. More details

Exercising my Rights: Ethical Choices and Moral Predicaments in Accessing Government Documents

This book should have wide appeal to undergraduates, postgraduates, and early-career researchers working under the broad umbrella of development studies. Although focused on fieldwork in the Global South, the discussions and reflections are relevant to field research in many other countries and contexts. More details

Fieldwork in the Global South

The chapters cover fieldwork carried out in countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America on a broad sweep of development-related topics. This book should have wide appeal to undergraduates, postgraduates, and early-career researchers working under the broad umbrella of development studies. More details

Evidence Report 55 Front Cover

Literature Review on Sexuality and Poverty

IDS Evidence Report 55 (2014)

This review contributes to the larger Sexuality, Poverty and Law Theme of the Accountable Grant, which aims to produce evidence-based, practical options for activists and policymakers for strengthening legal protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexed, questioning people and for sexual rights more generally. More details

Evidence report 53 teaser image

Sexuality and Poverty Synthesis Report

This report synthesises learning from these audits and is part of a larger project that focuses on understanding the links between sexuality, gender plurality and poverty with the aim of improving socioeconomic policy and programming to support people marginalised because of their sexuality. More details

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Civilian Resistance to Rebel Governance

HiCN Working Paper 170 (2014)

This paper presents a theory of civilian resistance against armed groups’ rule. It argues that rebel or paramilitary governance limited to the spheres of public order and tax collection tends to trigger only partial resistance—that is, opposition to some aspects of rule, without demanding its removal. More details

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Wartime Institutions: A Research Agenda

HiCN Working Paper 169 (2014)

This paper proposes a new research agenda on local wartime institutions. It focuses on the locality because war often segments territory, making localities the key locus of choice. To advance this research agenda this paper argues there is, indeed, great variation in wartime local institutions by relying on systematic, quantitative and qualitative original data on Colombia. More details