We have just published a set of papers for our thirteenth topic, Poverty.
Despite great progress over the last 20 years, just over 1 billion continue to live in extreme poverty. Much discussion in the post-2015 agenda revolves around addressing this ongoing problem and it is unsurprising that numerous poverty targets have been proposed â€“ from more social inclusion, to full employment, more happiness, increased resilience and more.
But which one of these targets is best?
As reported in Huffington Post, the best approach is a simple one: letâ€™s continue focusing on reducing extreme poverty and de-prioritize the rest.
It will not come without challenges â€“ we know surprisingly little about poverty because of poor data, the remaining poor in non-poor countries are often marginalized groups and some of the catalysts for dramatic poverty reduction in Asia cannot be replicated in currently poor regions in Africa. But the academic analysis shows that a straight-forward focus on poverty can for each dollar spent do $5 worth of good in poverty alleviation.
Previously in this project we have also found that a focus on free trade through a successful Doha Round can lift 160 million out of poverty by 2030. For each dollar spent, it can do about $2,000 of good.
Benefit for every dollar spent
Eliminate extreme poverty.
Cover x% of people who are poor and vulnerable with social protection systems.
Build resilience of the poor and reduce by x% deaths and economic losses related to disasters.
Ensure equality of economic opportunity for all women and men, including secure rights to own land, property and other productive assets and access to financial services for all women and men.
Varies by sector
Achieve full and productive employment for all, including women and young people.
Every country will monitor the wellbeing of its citizenry
with improved measurements and reporting of life satisfaction.
Focusing on social protection systems and full employment may lead to unintended distortions in job markets that actually hurt the poor and vulnerable. Targeting increased resilience from natural disasters risks over-focusing on one of the myriad of problems facing the poor. Finally, happiness indicators, while intuitively appealing, are difficult to compare across time and between different groups of people.
You can read all of the reports at www.post2015consensus.com/poverty
Here, Copenhagen Consensus Center has just released its latest research on Poverty targets for the post-2015 development agenda. John Gibson, Professor of Economics, Waikato University writes the main report, peer-reviewed in perspective papers by Gaurav Datt, Associate Professor of Economics at Monash University and Valerie Kozel, independent economist formerly of the World Bank. An additional viewpoint is provided by Deborah Rogers of Initiative for Equality and Stanford University.
PhD and Adjunct Professor
President of Copenhagen Consensus Center
PS. The Post-2015 Consensus project brings together 60 teams of economists with NGOs, international agencies and businesses to identify the targets with the greatest benefit-to-cost ratio for the UN's post-2015 development goals. If you have questions about the project, send an email to Research Project Manager Brad Wong by replying to this email.