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

Photo of Jerker Edstrom More details

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

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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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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

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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IDS publications on international development research

Local Institutions Can Limit Non-State Armed Groups’ Power and Expansion

Agency and Governance Policy Brief 1 (2013)

Policy Brief 1 emerging from the ESRC- DfID funded project "Agency and Governance in the Context of Civil Conflict" More details

This is the cover for IDS Bulletin 44.2, 'Real Time Monitoring for the Most Vulnerable'.

Real Time Monitoring for the Most Vulnerable

IDS Bulletin 44.2 (2013)

Developing real time information streams is about new ways of collecting traditional data, and of facilitating the sharing of existing data and knowledge across sectors and institutions. More details

Non-IDS publication

Household Trajectories in Rural Ethiopia: What Can a Mixed Method Approach Tell Us About the Impact of Poverty on Children?

Social Indicators Research (2013)

This paper explores the dynamics of child and household poverty in rural Ethiopia using three rounds of household survey and qualitative data collected by Young Lives, a longitudinal study of child poverty. More details

Non-IDS publication

Editorial: Poverty, Vulnerability and Resilience in a Post-2015 World

Social Indicators Research (2013)

Looking ahead, the global economic crisis (2007) may mark the end of a relatively benign era of strong growth, buoyant aid budgets and reasonable stability. Poverty reduction will then need to be pursued in a context of economic recovery, climate change, urbanization and demographic change. More details

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Making the Most of Resilience

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 32 (2013)

Resilience is becoming a hot topic. The increasing interest it is attracting in the development community offers an opportunity for designing and implementing more effective forms of intervention. More details

Non-IDS publication

Poverty, Vulnerability and Social Protection in Zanzibar: An Overview

This policy report reviews the status of poverty and vulnerability in Zanzibar, as well as the social protection responses. More details

Equal Opportunities for All? – A Critical Analysis of Mexico’s Oportunidades

IDS Working Paper 413 (2012)

In this paper we challenge the theory of change behind the Mexican Conditional Cash Transfer Programme Oportunidades, by questioning whether it sufficiently addresses the structural factors that prevent its poorest group of beneficiaries, indigenous people, from climbing out of poverty. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Global Implications of Somalia 2011 for Famine Prevention, Mitigation and Response

Global Food Security Special Issue on the Somalia Famine of 2011-2012 (2012)

The famine in Somalia 2011–2012 is a call for critical reflection and improvement. To summarize the main conclusions, while the emergence of a food security crisis in the Greater Horn of Africa in 2011 was well predicted, inadequate measures were taken to prevent, mitigate and respond to this crisis. More details

Non-IDS publication

The Interplay of Wellbeing and Resilience in Applying a Social-Ecological Perspective

Ecology and Society 4.17 (2012)

Innovative combinations of social and ecological theory are required to deal with complexity and change in humanecological systems. We examined the interplay and complementarities that emerge by linking resilience and social wellbeing approaches. More details

The Evolving Composition of Poverty in Middle-Income Countries: The Case of Indonesia, 1991–2007

IDS Working Paper 409 (2012)

This paper discusses the evolution of education and health poverty in middle-income countries using the case of Indonesia. More details

The New Face of Poverty: How has the Composition of Poverty in Low Income and Lower Middle-Income Countries (excluding China) Changed since the 1990s?

IDS Working Paper 408 (2012)

To what extent do education, health and nutrition poverty rates differ by the spatial and social characteristics of households? And how has the composition of education, health and nutrition poverty changed since the 1990s in terms of the spatial and social characteristics of households? More details

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Nutrition, Governance and Violence: A Framework for the Analysis of Resilience and Vulnerability to Food Insecurity in Contexts of Violent Conflict

HiCN Working Paper 132 (2012)

Part of the Households in Conflict Network (HiCN) series, this paper analyses the varying levels of resilience experienced by those affected by conflict, and discusses how this evidence can be best incorporated into international and national interventions aimed at securing the access to food and livelihoods by individuals, households and communities affected by violence and conflict. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Quantifying the Impact of Women’s Participation in Post-Conflict Economic Recovery

HiCN Working Paper 131 (2012)

Part of the Households in Conflict Network (HiCN) series, this Working Paper analyses how changes in the roles and activities of women during episodes of violent conflict may shape their contribution to post-conflict economic recovery and sustainable peace. More details

IDS publications on international development research

A Mixed-Method Taxonomy of Child Poverty - the Case of Ethiopia

Applied Research in Quality of Life (2012)

In this paper, we use mixed methods to develop a taxonomy of poverty and vulnerability to study the situation of children and their households in rural Ethiopia over time. More details

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