Institute for International Economic Policy

Signature Initiative: Economics of Ultra-Poverty

IIEP faculty led by Professors James Foster and Stephen Smith are engaged in research and policy analysis on extreme (or ultra-) poverty in the developing world. IIEP's ultra-poverty initiative focuses on basic and applied research, organizing conferences, work with international organizations, and both technical and policy publications. IIEP is well placed to emerge as one of the world's leading centers for scholarship on global poverty with our widely cited research and high-quality events building to a major international conference in spring 2012.

Our overarching theme is multidimensional measurement and analysis of poverty and poverty programs. James Foster's influential work on multidimensional measurement provides the underpinnings of the new UNDP Multidimensional Poverty Index; Professor Foster is applying this work to measurement in several fields including educational quality, women's wellbeing, health, nutrition, and corruption. In addition, IIEP faculty are working on design and impact of multidimensional poverty programs, multidimensional screening of poverty program eligibility, and multidimensional poverty traps analysis. Read the complete overview here.P D F icon



In 2009, with the support of a generous donor who has chosen to remain anonymous, the IIEP Ultra-poverty Initiative was launched at the Institute for International Economic Policy, which is part of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. Since then, there have been over a dozen IIEP events on poverty and human development, with many more to come.

The Initiative is coordinated by James E. Foster and Stephen C. Smith; several other GW faculty are participating. You may read about other IIEP faculty with expertise in poverty and download IIEP working papers on poverty.

Upcoming Events

October 21 Tuesday
Why Nations Fail: A Forum
James Robinson (Harvard)
» 5:00 PM- 6:30 PM
» Room 505 of 1957 E Street
» RSVP here

October 22 Wednesday
The Internet, Political Participation, and Governance Reform in China
Steven Balla
» 12:30 PM- 1:45 PM
» Lindner Commons at 1957 E Street (Room 602)
» RSVP here

October 29 Wednesday
International Trade and Development Workshop
Monica Singhal (Harvard Kennedy School)
» 12:30 PM- 2:00 PM

October 31 Friday
State Capitalism: BRICS style
» Click here for more info

November 17 Monday
Human Rights and Internet Governance
» 12:00 PM

Please contact for more information.