Inclusive Economies

Our work explores what characterises inclusive economies and how these can be achieved, particularly in a world where new technologies, rural to urban migration, and growing youth populations are disrupting and putting new pressures on people’s lives and livelihoods.

Our research looks at the impacts of business and markets on development and inequality and explores the potential for novel market-based solutions to work for the poorest and most marginalised based on gender, ethnicity and disability.  It explores alternatives that enable workers, consumers and communities to have a real voice.

It continues to revitalise debates on agriculture as a key pathway out of poverty and towards inclusion, particularly for young people. Our work is focused on identifying what opportunities exist in a period of agricultural commercialisation and rural transformation and how far different groups are able to access them.  It also understands how new technologies such as drones or blockchains pose risks, but can also be harnessed to improve the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people.  In a rapidly urbanising world where cities have become focal points for economic growth, jobs and innovation but also for poverty, inequality, vulnerability and conflict, our work explores what this means for both urban and rural people, and the opportunities and challenges they face in living safe and fulfilling lives.


Image of Ana Pueyo
Ana Pueyo

Research Fellow

Image of Carlos Fortin
Carlos Fortin

Research Associate

Image of Giel Ton
Giel Ton

Research Fellow

Image of James Sumberg
James Sumberg

Research Fellow

Image of Jing Gu
Jing Gu

Research Fellow, Centre Director

Image of Jodie Thorpe
Jodie Thorpe

Research Fellow, Cluster Leader

Image of John Thompson
John Thompson

Research Fellow

Image of Keetie Roelen
Keetie Roelen

Research Fellow / Co-Director, Centre for Social Protection

Programmes and centres


Sexuality, Poverty and Law Programme

Understanding the links between sexuality, gender plurality and poverty and producing practical options for activists and policymakers for strengthening legal protection of LGBTIQ people and sexuality rights.


Centre for Rising Powers and Global Development

The Centre for Rising Powers and Global Development is at the forefront of research and practical analysis that helps connect governments, donors, civil society, and academia to explore new way to address global development challenges.



COVID-19: Disconnected Workers and Rapid Digitisation

From patients accessing health services through telemedicine to school children only being able to attend classes through remote learning, the rapid digitization of services and activities across social and economic life during the COVID-19 pandemic (especially in its early months) has provided...


Wellbeing, Housing and Infrastructure in Turkey (WHIT)

This research and action project will contribute to finding ‘durable solutions’ for housing infrastructural deficits in Turkey, in the context of large scale displacement of Syrian refugees and rapid urbanisation.

Recent work

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Transforming Food Markets for Social Good

Business, Markets and the State Position Paper 4

Access to nutritious food is a human right, for which households increasingly rely on the functioning of markets. However, food markets and the value chains that supply them are in transition in many parts of the world. IDS is leading research on food systems, within which the Business, Markets...

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Evert-Jan Quak & 2 others

29 April 2020


Safety of sanitation workers should not be overlooked

While the Covid-19 pandemic has driven many of us into our homes to seek safety and shelter, sanitation workers remain an indispensable part of our frontline workforce. On World Day for Safety and Health at Work, it is important to recognise and address sanitation workers’ vital need to...

28 April 2020


Will Covid-19 change our economy? Not unless we reimagine it

Covid-19 has introduced a huge degree of uncertainty into people’s lives (most especially, thus far, in Northern countries unused to coping with disorder). Yet one thing seems to be certain. A seismic economic shock is underway, which will change all our lives forever. Or is it? Will Covid-19...

27 April 2020


The informal sector urgently needs cash and debt relief

The Covid-19 pandemic and related physical distancing measures hit the poorest hardest. This is a universal issue. Many in the global North live one paycheck away from catastrophe, many in the South live a day’s work away from hunger and starvation. The haunting images of laborers fleeing...

24 April 2020


Child Labour and the Fashion Action Ask

IDS Research Fellow and CLARISSA programme director Danny Burns took part in an online Extinction Rebellion Fashion Action team’s panel discussion: What does the fashion industry need in this time of crisis? A Reboot or a Transition? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiJDQzh45Bk The...

23 April 2020