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global poverty and inequality, inclusive growth, structural transformation, the future of foreign aid, Southeast Asia
Andy Sumner is a reader in International Development in the Department of International Development at King’s College London.
His research is at the interface of development studies and development economics.
His research interests focus on the distributional and welfare dynamics of late economic development in developing countries and Southeast Asia in particular, notably Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. In short, how different modes of economic development and structural change have different welfare outcomes.
He has fifteen years’ international research experience using both qualitative and quantitative methods and has published extensively, including ten books. His most recent books are Global Poverty (2016, OUP) and Development and Distribution (2018, OUP).
He is director of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Global Challenges Strategic Research Network on Global Poverty and Inequality Dynamics.
He was appointed at King’s in 2012 and established, with Peter Kingstone, the International Development Institute which became the Department of International Development. Previously, he was a research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex.
He is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College and has also held various roles in academic networks, including as a vice president of, and UK representative to, the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) from 2008 to 2014, and as a council member of the Development Studies Association, UK and Ireland, from 2000 to 2014.
He is an editorial board member of Global Policy, the Journal of International Development, of the European Journal of Development Research. He is also deputy executive editor of Global Policy and book series co-editor for Palgrave Macmillan’s Rethinking International Development.
He is a visiting fellow at CGD and a non-resident fellow at UNU-WIDER and also holds associate positions at Oxford University and Padjadjaran University, Indonesia.
His research has been cited by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), by international development agencies such as the World Bank and UN agencies, and by media including The Economist. He has also been asked to contribute expertise to various policy-related processes such as the Select Committees of the House of Commons, the UN International Panel on Climate Change, and a Lancet Poverty Commission, and he has been listed in US magazine Foreign Policy’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers,” and in the Huffington Post’s “Most Influential Voices.”
Zambia and Ghana are the 27th and 28th countries the World Bank has reclassified as middle-income since the year 2000
Doctors perform cataract surgery at the Lusaka Eye Hospital in Zambia. It's inexpensive and it changes people's lives instantly, so it's a good example of how just a little bit more money can make a huge difference to the world's poorest people. Photograph: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images
Remember the poverty trap? Countries stuck in destitution because of weak institutions put in place by colonial overlords, or because of climates that foster disease, or geographies that limit access to global markets, or simply by the fact that poverty is overwhelmingly self-perpetuating. Apparently the trap can be escaped.
Most of the world’s poor no longer live in low-income countries. An estimated 960 million poor people—a new bottom billion—live in middle-income countries, a result of the graduation of several populous countries from low-income status. That is good news, but it has repercussions. Donors will have to change the way they think about poverty alleviation. They should design development aid to benefit poor people, not just poor countries, keep supporting middle-income countries, think beyond traditional aid to craft coherent development policies, and work to help create space for more inclusive policy processes in new and old MICs.