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What works to reduce extreme poverty? New working paper

A new DEEP Working Paper presents findings of a selective, structured literature review of what works to reduce extreme poverty in five countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

Our review covers three types of intervention that have plausible effects on poverty reduction: social protection; interventions that provide assets to poor households; and interventions that increase returns to assets.

Following screening and assessment,  we included 42 studies in our review – distributed unevenly across the five countries – with 17 being from Bangladesh, 15 from Ethiopia and no studies meeting the inclusion criteria for Madagascar.

Studies assessing the poverty impacts of social protection interventions make up the largest proportion of selected studies, 17 (40.4%). Asset transfer studies are also well-represented, with 15 being included (35.7%). However, there are only 10 studies that look at how interventions that aim to increase returns to existing assets can reduce poverty.

Across all types of intervention, few studies examine what works to reduce poverty in urban areas, consider the depth and severity of poverty or show evidence of impacts disaggregated by sex. Several studies looking at asset transfers consider the sustainability of impacts. But sustainability is rarely examined in studies looking at social protection or at increased returns to assets.

View the paper in full: What works to reduce extreme poverty? A selective review – working paper

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