Poverty and human development have long been core areas of research for the department. Going beyond a narrow conception of per capita income, our approach incorporates health, education, living standards and quality of work – all of which enable productive, creative and autonomous lives.
Our present strength and reputation in this field is due mainly to two research groups: the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and Young Lives
ODID faculty, notably Professor Emerita Frances Stewart, participated in design, methodology and research for the UNDP's flagship Human Development Report from its foundation in 1990. This work has been continued and enlarged by OPHI, winner of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2020. With its innovative Multidimensional Poverty Index, OPHI contributes globally to the conception of the Sustainable Development Goals and also engages with many national governments on data gathering and measurement of poverty to provide evidence for policy.
Building human capabilities necessarily starts with children, and the Young Lives project, initiated in 2001, conducts longitudinal study of childhood poverty following the lives of 12,000 children in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam. Carried out in collaboration with country partners, the study covers education, skills, work, health, nutrition, inequality, child protection and gender. This multi-country longitudinal research has now moved from studying children to youth, as their original child cohorts have grown older. Young Lives has also developed a new focus on work, in view of the crisis of youth employment.
Missing multidimensional poverty data hinders SDGs
The lack of recent poverty data that renders millions unseen and unheard threatens progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. A new post highlights the urgency of better data collection to ensure that no-one is left behind in the quest to eradicate global poverty.
‘By sharing work we are moving forward’: Changing social norms around men’s participation in unpaid care work in Northern Uganda
In a region where women historically carried out unpaid care work and men provided economically for the family, post-civil war social change is creating opportunities for some men to subtly challenge gendered social norms.
Caught in the crossfire: understanding the impact of conflict on young people’s lives in Ethiopia
Initial findings from a Young Lives pilot survey highlight the devastating impacts of the conflict in Ethiopia on young people – and the importance of longitudinal research in tracking and understanding these.
Food for thought? How Ethiopia's Productive Safety Net Programme benefits children's foundational cognitive skills
New research from Young Lives on foundational cognitive skills provides ground-breaking evidence that children from households benefitting from Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) have better long-term memory and implicit learning skills.
What’s holding young women in India back? Closing the gender gap in accessing decent work
Gender inequality in employment has continued to increase in India. While the government has funded numerous programmes to improve skills development and entrepreneurship opportunities much more needs to be done to achieve equal access to secure, decent jobs for all.