Ten of the most important questions to ask about UK poverty

JRF-logoPoverty research must provide useful answers for policy and practice, says Chris Goulden.

To deal with entrenched problems of poverty in the UK, serious improvements need to be made to knowledge about the causes of poverty and the effectiveness of potential solutions.

As reported in the recent UBD full report (p.41):

One in four children in the District lives below the poverty line (households with less than 60% of average income) equating to 36,080 0-18 year olds. Bradford’s rate is more than the national average or West Yorkshire rate. A further third of the District’s children live in households that have low income plus material deprivation.

A two-day exercise led by a partnership between JRF and the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge identified the most important unanswered and researchable questions about poverty.

Ten of the most important questions were:

  • What values, frames and narratives are associated with greater support for tackling poverty, and why?
  • How do images of people in poverty influence policy debates in different countries?
  • What are the most effective methods of increasing involvement and support for the education of children among their parents or guardians?
  • What explains variation in wages as a share of GDP internationally?
  • What is the nature and extent of poverty among those who do not or cannot access the safety net when they need it?
  • How could targeting and incentivising payment of the Living Wage make it more effective at reducing household poverty?
  • What are the positive and negative impacts of digital technologies on poverty?
  • How do environmental and social regulations or obligations affect prices for those in poverty?
  • Who benefits from poverty, and how?
  • What evidence is there that economic growth reduces poverty overall, and under what circumstances?

The full paper 100 Questions: identifying research priorities for poverty prevention and reduction published in Journal of Poverty & Social Justice as an Open Access paper can be accessed here.

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