100 questions about poverty

Progress in reducing or preventing poverty in the UK could be helped by the answers to 100 important research questions, according to a new report. The questions have been identified by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge, based on an exercise involving 45 participants from government, non-governmental organisations, academia and research. They cover a range of themes, and indicate areas of particular research interest.

Key questions include:

  • Attitudes towards poverty – To what extent does stigma contribute to the experience of living in poverty in the UK, and what can be done to address this?
  • Education and family – To what extent do families (including extended families) provide the first line of defence against individual poverty, and what are the limits and geographical variations of this support?
  • Employment – What explains variation in wages as a share of GDP internationally? What can countries do to combat low pay without causing unemployment in sectors that cannot move abroad?
  • Health, well-being and inclusion – What is the nature and extent of poverty among those who do not, or cannot, access the safety net when they need it? What are the health risks associated with poor-quality work (low paid, insecure, poorly regulated etc) for individuals or households in poverty?
  • Markets, service and the cost of living – What transport measures and interventions have the greatest negative/positive impact on poverty? What is the impact of up-front charging in public services on people in poverty?
  • Place and housing – What is the effect of housing-related welfare changes on people and places in poverty?
  • Tax, benefits and inequality – What would the impacts on poverty be of different models of more contributory benefit schemes? How can the effect on poverty of issues of diversity, such as ethnicity, disability, age, gender, sexual orientation or religion, be better understood and addressed? What relevance does inequality in the top half of the income distribution have for the reduction of poverty?
  • Policy, power and agency – What forms of institutional structures, processes and reforms enable people living in poverty to hold state and non-state actors to account?
  • The bigger picture – What are the most cost-effective interventions to prevent poverty over the life course? What differentiates the effects of poverty on men and women in terms of the impact on both their own quality of life and that of their families? Considering how much money has been spent on poverty alleviation, why has it not had more effect?

Source: William Sutherland et al., 100 Questions: Identifying Research Priorities for Poverty Prevention and Reduction, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
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Publication date: 
Oct 2 2013