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

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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

Photo of Lars Otto Naess More details

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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IDS publications on international development research

Reframing Aid in a World Where the Poor Live in Emerging Economies

International Development Policy (2012)

This special issue of International Development Policy analyses the major shifts affecting traditional development assistance, particularly with regard to global public policy and the emerging economies. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Poverty and Inequalities in Middle-Income Southeast Asia

This paper outlines a research agenda related to poverty in lower middle income Southeast Asia, notably Indonesia and Viet Nam. More details

IDS publications on international development research

To Politically Empower Women on a Global Scale we need more than Quotas

If we are serious about promoting gender justice, we must turn political empowerment upside down. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Aid: A Survey in Light of Changes in the Distribution of Global Poverty

The contours of the landscape of foreign aid are shifting. There has been talk of a ‘triple revolution’ in official development assistance (ODA) in terms of goals, players and instruments – all of which are mushrooming – and a questioning of the validity of the current definition of ODA. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Decomposing the Ethnic Gap in Rural Vietnam, 1993-2004

Oxford Development Studies 40.1 (2012)

This paper examines and decomposes the gap in per capita expenditures between majority and minority ethnic groups in rural Vietnam between 1993 and 2004. Over this period, the real expenditure gap between rural Kinh and Chinese-headed households and those headed by ethnic minorities increased by 14.6%. More details

IDS publications on international development research

A Mixed-method Taxonomy of Child Poverty: A Case Study from Rural Ethiopia

There are long-standing debates about how to measure poverty and well-being and how to classify household and individuals in terms of poverty status. This paper informs those debates. It presents a taxonomy of poverty and vulnerability that has been developed from a mixed methods study of rural children and households in Ethiopia. Qualitative information is used to inform and development of quantitative indicators that will assess poverty and vulnerability. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Where's the 'Bread, Freedom and Social Justice' a Year after Egypt's Revolution

Things are getting worse rather than better for people who took part in Egypt's revolution last January, and the new government doesn't seem to be a stabilising force. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Anatomy of Coping

Evidence of People Living through the Crisis 2008 - 11 More details

This is the image of IDS Working paper 384, 'The Impact of Armed Civil Conflict on Household Welfare and Policy'.

The Impact of Armed Civil Conflict on Household Welfare and Policy

IDS Working Paper 384 (2011)

This IDS Working Paper offers a framework for analysing the effects of armed conflicts on households and the ways in which households in turn respond to and cope with the conflicts. More details

IDS Working Paper

Poverty and Violent Conflict: A Micro-Level Perspective on the Causes and Duration of Warfare

IDS Working Paper 385 (2011)

This IDS Working Paper discusses how endogenous mechanisms linking processes of violent conflict and the economic wellbeing of individuals and households in combat areas provide valuable micro foundations to the ongoing debate on the causes and duration of armed conflict. More details

Non-IDS publication

Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar: Zanzibar Social Protection Policy

This policy report offers an in-depth analysis of the Zanzibar Social Protection Policy, as well as mapping poverty and vulnerability on the island. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Concept Note - Researching the Links between Social Protection and Children’s Care

The EveryChild Coalition on Children Without Parental Care, and the Centre of Social Protection at the Institute of Development Studies are planning joint research on the links between social protection and children's care. More details

Non-IDS publication

Employment Generation in Rural Africa: Mid-term Results from an Experimental Evaluation of the Youth Opportunities Program in Northern Uganda

HiCN Working Paper 135 (2011)

Published as part of the Households in Conflict Network (HiCN) series, this paper experimentally evaluates one of Uganda's largest development programs, which provided thousands of young people nearly unconditional, unsupervised cash transfers to pay for vocational training, tools, and business start-up costs. More details

Non-IDS publication

Violent Conflict and Human Capital Accumulation

Published in the book 'Elgar Handbook of Civil War and Fragile States' this chapter reviews and discusses available empirical research on the impact of violent conflict on the level and access to education of civilian and combatant populations affected by violence. More details

Non-IDS publication

War and Poverty

Published by Oxford University Press, this book chapter explores the economic channels through which war may simultaneously affect and be affected by the economic status and responses of individuals and their immediate relations in areas of violent conflict to cope with and adapt to changes to livelihoods and economic status during civil wars. More details

IDS Working Paper

Poverty, Livelihoods and War Legacies: The Case of Post-War Rural Kosovo

IDS Working Paper 380 (2011)

This paper examines the effects of war on livelihood portfolios and welfare outcomes of rural households in Kosovo using the 2000 Kosovo Living Standards Measurement Survey. More details

This is the image for IDS Working Paper 379, 'Violent Conflict and Human Capital Accumulation'.

Violent Conflict and Human Capital Accumulation

IDS Working Paper 379 (2011)

The objective of this IDS Working Paper is to review the available evidence on one important micro-level mechanism linking civil wars and long-term development outcomes, namely the level and access to education of civilian and combatant populations affected by violence. More details