Nearly a quarter of the world's population lives on less than $3.65 per day (adjusted for purchasing power, using 2020 prices), with the frequent hunger, chronic health problems, and everyday indignities that such poverty entails. How can the living standards of the poor be raised? The Center for Development Economics and Policy (CDEP) supports microeconomic research to investigate the sources of poverty and to inform practical interventions to address them.

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The Firms and Innovation Initiative is motivated by the view that one of the best anti-poverty programs is a steady job at a wage sufficient to support the basic needs of a household. Such jobs are more likely to be available when an economy’s industrial sector is thriving, when firms are growing and investing in their workforces. 


The Politics, Institutions and Conflict Initiative sees conflict and disorder as one of the greatest threats to development, and the development of good government as a means to economic prosperity as well as an important end in itself. 


The Human Capital Initiative focuses on understanding the productive potential embodied in individuals – their skills, health and other capabilities.