Tackling increasing resource scarcity is one of the major challenges to policy-makers in developing countries. An important aspect of resource scarcity involves public goods. Lack of public goods, like health and education, can significantly reduce the welfare of individuals and households and often this affects the poorest the most. In India, these issues are amplified by the existence of a long-standing social structure based around caste and religion.
Despite infrastructure being the dominant expenditure category of most governments in the developing world (as well of multilateral and bilateral development organisations), we have a very limited understanding of whether and how infrastructure investments affect poverty and development. Two projects focused on India and East Africa will attempt to fill this key gap in our knowledge.
Chronic poverty is a condition that requires an understanding of the processes that make, and keep, people poor. The economic analysis of chronic poverty must take into account the interaction between external circumstances (initial wealth social status, health) and intrinsic psychological factors (aspirations, self-confidence, beliefs).
The mobilisation of grassroots communities is a core commitment of current health and development policies, but is often difficult to achieve. This research examined two uniquely successful community mobilisation projects led by sex workers in India, with the aim of understanding the social conditions that support effective grassroots development.