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Poverty dynamics: measurement and understanding from an interdisciplinary perspective

Karen Moore


 There are three main fronts on which progress must be made if we are to deepen our understanding of why poverty occurs, and significantly improve the effectiveness of poverty reduction policies.

  • First, poverty research needs to focus on poverty dynamics — over the life-course and across generations. There is now a wide acceptance that static analyses have limited explanatory power and may conceal the processes that are central to the persistence of poverty and/or its elimination.
  • Second, there is a need to move efforts to measure poverty dynamics beyond mere income and consumption to more multidimensional concepts and measures of poverty. This is increasingly common in static analyses but is rare in work on poverty dynamics. This might involve assets, or more ambitiously, using concepts of human development or wellbeing.
  • Third, at the same time there is a growing consensus that a thorough understanding of poverty and poverty reduction requires cross-disciplinary research, using the strengths of different disciplines and methods, and of quantitative and qualitative approaches to poverty analysis.

We believe that the next frontier in poverty research is at the intersection of the cross-disciplinary approaches to the dynamics of multidimensional poverty.

This research summary was presented at the Social Protection for the Poorest in Africa - Learning from Experience, Entebbe, Uganda, 8-10 September 2008.

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Research Summary


concepts assets social protection


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