Combating Poverty and Inequality

Combating Poverty and Inequality

UNRISD research highlights three crucial elements of a sustainable and inclusive development strategy: sustained growth and structural change that create jobs and improved earnings for the vast majority of people; comprehensive social policies that are grounded in universal rights; and civic activism and political arrangements that ensure states are responsive to the needs of all citizens.

UNRISD Research & Policy Brief, May 2010

In contrast to the experiences of countries that were successful historically in reducing poverty and inequality, contemporary poverty reduction strategies have increasingly focused on “targeting the poor". Such approaches often fail to consider key institutional, policy and political dimensions that may be both causes of poverty and inequality, and obstacles to their reduction. They run counter to the evidence from countries that have successfully reduced poverty over relatively short time periods. UNRISD research shows instead that progress has occurred principally through statedirected strategies which combine economic development objectives with active social policies in ways that are mutually supportive. It also shows how poverty outcomes are shaped by complex interconnections of ideas, institutions, policies and practices in the social, economic and political spheres.

Policy implications:
-Economic growth is important, but alone it does not necessarily reduce poverty and inequality
-Equality and redistribution matter for poverty reduction
-Social policy is an integral part of the development strategies of countries that have transformed their economies and reduced poverty relatively quickly
-The linkages between policies and institutions in the social, economic and political spheres must be recognized
-Politics matter for poverty reduction
-There is no one right way to reduce poverty

Click here to access UNRISD Research & Policy Brief no. 10


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