Our work in 2019-2023 – creating, strengthening, and sharing knowledge for development
Over the period 2019–23 UNU-WIDER research will focus on the interlinked development challenges of transforming economies, states, and societies. These transformations are central to the achievement of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Three key concerns will be integrated throughout the research programme — fragility and risk, empowerment, knowledge and capacity.
UNU-WIDER will mobilize research evidence for action through the ongoing processes in the UN and its member states. The institute continues to work with stakeholders to strengthen capacities for research, technical, and policy analysis, and facilitating the exchange of experiences and knowledge between countries and regions. Read more
Transforming economies – at the core of any meaningful development strategy
This research theme is based on continuing need for large-scale changes in the structure of economic activity and employment opportunities, which must take place if absolute poverty is to be reduced alongside addressing economic and social inequalities. Economic transformation is also needed to deliver higher levels of income and market activity that are critically needed to improve the mobilization of domestic resources and establish a larger tax basis.
Research projects under this theme will include work on informality, productive job creation, especially in achieving gender equality and poverty reduction, and the opportunities but also challenges inherent in today’s global economy. Read more
Transforming states – capable states are a precondition of achieving the SDGs
Capable and effective states are needed to work with the private sector to achieve higher and more environmentally sustainable rates of economic growth — via transformation of the economy’s structure. At the same time, the state has a key role to play in providing necessary public goods and in shaping the transformation of societies in ways that yield greater empowerment through proactive policies to help reduce marginalization of the poor and achieve greater gender equality.
Research in this theme will look at questions of public expenditure, tax incidence across income group and enterprise type, market failures and ways to correct or compensate for them (e.g., in financial products available to the poor) and in the management of natural resource wealth which now increasingly interacts with the climate change agenda (a dimension of risk and fragility). Read more
Transforming societies - a complex task for every level of the polity
Societal transformation is, on the one hand, an outcome of strategy and policy choices. On the other hand, the characteristics of societies frame and impact on socioeconomic development as well. Increasing the capacities, resources, and confidence of individuals and their communities is a means to achieve the end of poverty and reduce gender and broader social inequalities. This is now a pressing concern in many societies, especially when high inequality is politically destabilizing — increasing state fragility — as well as hindering the transformation of economies.
Specific topics to be covered under this theme include empowerment (as a means to achieve social goals including the analysis and capacity strengthening for using instruments of empowerment and measuring and quantifying social goals), the role of social capital, migration, both internal and across borders. Read more
135 active and previous projects
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...
2012-13Experimental 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
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...
2012-13Building 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
2012-13Reconciling 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’s growth...Economic growth Poverty measurement Economic inequality
2012-13Africa'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 dynamic...Development Democracy Demography