The inequality, poverty and inclusion cluster looks into the determinants of inequality, the drivers of poverty and the underlying factors that lead to unequal growth. It further investigates how effective interventions can be made for inclusive growth, both at the macro and micro level.


For the first time in over 20 years, global extreme poverty is expected to rise in 2020 as the disruption by the COVID-19 pandemic combines the forces of conflict and climate change, which were already inhibiting poverty reduction progress. The World Bank recently reported that the global extreme poverty rate fell to 9.2 percent in 2017, from 10.1 percent in 2015, which is equivalent to 689 million people living on less than $1.90 a day. At higher poverty lines, 24.1 percent of the world lived on less than $3.20 a day and 43.6 percent on less than $5.50 a day in 2017.

In case of Pakistan, Asian Development Bank suggests that 24.3% of the population Pakistan lives below the national poverty line in 2015, while the proportion of employed population below $1.90 purchasing power parity a day in 2019 is 2.3%.

Research Problems

Interventions in this context can be taken to mean a combination of programs or strategies that tackle an issue or cross-cutting issues. The focal points of inquiry are as follows:


  • What are meanings and drivers of poverty?
  • What are cycles of poverty and intergenerational transfer of poverty?
  • Why are some communities more unequal than others? What are the connections between inequality and other markers of well-being?
  • How do we make growth inclusive? What can other country models explain about successful policymaking for inclusion and growth?


  • “Why are some groups poorer than others? What role can social networks, social norms and identities play in determining the success of anti-poverty interventions?”
  • What is the role of behavioral responses to poverty, especially the link between aspirations and poverty, and how can that be used to design interventions that have greater traction?
  • How can a focus on social norms and identities shape and improve intervention design and facilitate inclusion?
  • How important is finance for the growth of microenterprises? Can equity-based finance stimulate growth more successfully than debt-based finance?

Mahbub ul Haq Research Centre at LUMS

Postal Address


Sector U, DHA

Lahore Cantt, 54792, Pakistan

Office Hours

Mon. to Fri., 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Contact Information

T: +92-42-3560-8000

X: 8182, 4452