Understanding poverty and wellbeing: a note with implications for research and policy

Research reports and studies
May 2012
Poverty Analysis Discussion Group - Sabina Alkire, Jo Boyden, John Hammock, David Hulme, Claire Melamed, Allister McGregor, Diana Mitlin, Andrew Norton, Andrew Shepherd, Frances Stewart, Andy Sumner, Gaston Yalonetzky

This note takes stock of poverty research to date, proposes a set of ‘building blocks’ or lessons learnt in terms of poverty policy analysis and research, and identifies challenges and future directions for research.

It is a product of sessions convened by the Department for International Development with poverty researchers in late 2010 and early 2011. Participants were: Sabina Alkire (University of Oxford/OPHI), Jo Boyden (University of Oxford and Director of Young Lives), John Hammock (OPHI), David Hulme (University of Manchester), Clare Melamed (ODI), Allister McGregor (IDS), Diana Mitlin (IIED), Andrew Norton (ODI), Andrew Shepherd (ODI), Frances Stewart (University of Oxford), Andy Sumner (IDS), Gaston Yalonetzky (University of Oxford/OPHI)

The note is intended to contribute to policy debates relating to the assessment of poverty and wellbeing (such as the question of what framework of goals and measures might replace the UN Millennium Development Goals beyond 2015) as well as consideration of future directions for poverty research.

This note recognises that the last decade has seen great progress in some dimensions of poverty reduction (notably in terms of improved human development indicators in most non-conflict affected countries, and great reductions in income poverty in East Asia). However, a better understanding of how poverty should be assessed is important to ensure continued progress in the eradication of absolute poverty and reduction of disparities in the next ten years.