Research at UNU-WIDER
The triple challenge facing societies today of structural transformation, inclusion and sustainability is the focus of UNU-WIDER's work programme 2014-2018. These are seen as key challenges to human development that will shape policy and research needs over the foreseeable future.
These three development challenges overlap and interact. Inclusion cannot be delivered by social protection alone; it requires the transformation of the productive side of economies together with the associated livelihoods. Transformation that fails to achieve inclusion may yield growth but not human development in its widest sense. Ultimately, both rest on the achievement of sustainability.
Transformation is a necessary condition of economic development, including efforts to reduce poverty and inequality. Transformation requires that economic growth reallocates resources towards more productive sectors, and in so doing, creates decent livelihoods for the poor and new opportunities for an emerging middle-class.
Despite past successes in Asia and Latin America, transformation has slowed in some countries and has yet to materialize in Africa. Promoting economic transformation will therefore be crucial for the success of any future development agenda.
Inequality is a key challenge and not only holds implications for economic growth and redistribution, but also translates into power asymmetries that can endanger democratization and human rights, engender conflict, and embed social exclusion so that chronic poverty persists.
Questions of inequality and inclusiveness are generating a broad range of public policy concerns at global and national levels. Promoting inclusion will require policy interventions that create decent jobs as well as provide safety nets for the poor and vulnerable.
Decision makers in developing countries face the complex task of achieving development in the context of increasing environmental stress and diminished stocks of natural resources. Sustainability is a multifaceted programme theme with environmental, social, and economic dimensions. Fundamental policy and investment decisions in energy, water resources, infrastructure, and agriculture interact strongly with environmental issues at the global, regional, and national levels.
Cutting across the entire research programme are three high-priority concerns: Africa's inclusive growth, gender equity, and aid effectiveness.
120 active and previous projects
TransformationUnderstanding the African lions - growth traps and opportunities in six dominant African economies Africa Labour market Growth
TransformationRegional growth and development in Southern Africa South Africa Regional integration Industrialization
InclusionGender and development
Substantial progress toward gender equality and women’s empowerment has occurred over the past four decades, but key gaps, both in opportunity and capability, persist between males and females in all countries. This project focuses on...Gender equality
TransformationDevelopment policy and practice: competing paradigms and approaches
This project uses UNU-WIDER’s high level of convening power – its ability to mobilize senior figures in the development policy debate from different paradigms – and its ability to stand aside from the fashions and pressures of the...Development aid development policy
TransformationMacro-economic management (M-EM)
This project explores how macroeconomics of development is evolving; what the policy priorities are as the global economy undergoes transformation (with more countries moving from low- to middle- income status); the impact of global economic...Macroeconomics Income distribution Inflation (Finance)
InclusionThe growth-employment-poverty nexus in Latin America in the 2000s
Latin America in the 2000s witnessed an unprecedented period of growth with poverty and inequality reduction. Latin America also suffered from the economic crises in Europe and the United States from 2007/08 onwards. The questions asked in this...Economic growth Economic development Labour market
TransformationJobs, poverty and structural change in Africa Trade Competitiveness Industrial policy
The purpose of this project is to advance data collection, measurement, and research regarding the development of inequality in the world. A major focus in this research area is the maintenance, updating, and development of the World Income...Global inequality Database Measurement
TransformationStructural transformation and inclusive growth in Viet Nam
This project responds to the SDG’s call for a strengthening of data collection and capacity-building in Member States. Timely and better disaggregated, country level data aids the search for an evidence-based course to realizing economic...Vietnam Growth Development
2014-15Conference on Inequality - measurement, trends, impacts, and policies
Many low- and middle-income countries are achieving good rates of economic growth, but high inequality remains a priority concern. Some countries meanwhile have low growth, high inequality, and pervasive poverty―often linked to their fragility...
OtherAn energy social accounting matrix (SAM) for Vietnam Vietnam Social Accounting Matrix Green growth
2012-13Conference on Inclusive growth in Africa - measurement, causes, and consequences
apid and sustained poverty reduction requires ‘inclusive growth’ that allows people to contribute to and benefit from the development process. Africa’s economic performance has improved considerably since the 1980s and early 1990s...
OtherReconciling Africa’s growth, poverty and inequality trends: growth and poverty project (GAPP)
Despite decades of research and advances in data and methods, measuring poverty and reconciling this with patterns of economic growth remains a complex and contentious issue. UNU-WIDER’s Growth and Poverty Project (GAPP) re-examines Africa...Economic growth Poverty measurement Economic inequality
OtherAfrica's emerging middle-class
Sub-Saharan Africa currently is facing a range of demographic and socioeconomic shifts that hold important implications for both the region’s economic and political development. One of these shifts has been the emergence of a sizeable and...Development Democracy Demography