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.

Focusing on the ‘food crisis’ since 2007, this research examines right-to-food movements and riots over food prices in Bangladesh, India, Kenya and Mozambique and addresses the question, How can governments be made more accountable for ensuring access to food?

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).

Chinese medicine, Edward N. Johnson, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
This multi-disciplinary project combines anthropological fieldwork with archival and interview-based research to investigate the conditions that make possible continuing inappropriate use of medicines in South Asia.
How does the relationship between populations living in areas of conflict, and armed non-state actors, result in forms of local governance and affect livelihoods? Based on work in Colombia, India, Lebanon, Niger and South Africa.
Markets in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Case studies in four cities with different legal traditions, Dar es Salaam, Ahmedabad, Durban and Dakar, draw on extensive interviews with street traders, local authorities and others, to contribute to improved policy development.
More UK aid supplies land in earthquake-hit Nepal
The research spans low-income, aid-dependent states that are landlocked (Malawi, Zambia), Island economies (Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea), and also transition economies (China, India) and addresses the salary gap that exists between aid workers working for different agencies.

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.

cc: Flickr Trocaire
Using data from semi-arid tropical regions on four production technologies on different scales, the researchers explore how capital, technology and labour are combined to produce commodities, affect climate, and livelihoods.

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