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.
110 active and previous projects
InclusionWIID – World Income Inequality Database
Development financeDecentralization and urban service delivery - implications for foreign aid Foreign aid Decentralization Public sector administration
Development financeExperimental and non-experimental methods to study government performance - contributions and limits
In recent years, field experiments using randomized trials have gained increasing popularity in the field of development economics. In particular, scholars have argued strongly for their use as the best means of identifying ‘what works’...Field experiments Non-experimental methods Governance
Development financeBuilding state capability through problem-driven iterative adaptation (PDIA)
As a sub-component of the Research and Communication on Foreign Aid (ReCom) programme, the PDIA project feeds into the themes: governance and fragility & social sectors. An integral part of development is the expansion of capability of the state...Foreign aid Development Social sectors
Development financeForeign aid and democracy in Africa Foreign aid Development Economics Good governance
1985-97UNU-WIDER development conferences
See publications for work connected to this project.
TransformationGRD - Government Revenue Dataset
The most recent version of the Government Revenue Dataset - released in January 2016 - is open and free to use. The primary data file (core dataset) is available for download in two formats and can be downloaded below.
InclusionSOUTHMOD - simulating tax and benefit policies for development Taxation Social protection Income distribution
InclusionSAPI - Social Assistance, Politics and Institutions database
Since the turn of the century, social assistance emerged as a leading institution in the fight against poverty in the developing world. Large-scale programmes providing direct transfers to households in poverty have transformed the antipoverty...