Pathways from Poverty


Over the last decade, high economic growth in Bangladesh has resulted in millions of people becoming less poor. However, the country remains one of the poorest in the world, and around a quarter of the population continues to live in extreme poverty. Government and NGOs in Bangladesh have undertaken many important interventions designed to help individuals and households escape poverty, many of these targeted to women. While many evaluations have attempted to assess their short-term effectiveness, relatively little is known about their long-term impact or their relative cost-effectiveness.

This is problematic for several reasons: the benefits of interventions with limited short-run impact but greater long-term impact will be under-stated; the benefits of interventions with greater short-run impact but little long-term impact will be over-stated; and even where long-term evaluations exist, information gleaned from these may be of limited value to policymakers because they do not have information to evaluate such results across different types of interventions. A unique feature of this study is that it combines both a long-term and comparative assessment of these interventions and mixed qualitative/quantitative methods. The results will have immediate implications for anti-poverty policy both in Bangladesh and elsewhere.

Phase I: Determinants of chronic poverty in rural Bangladesh

Phase I.1: Inheritance and the intergenerational transmission of poverty in Bangladesh

Phase I.2: Assets and Poverty Traps in Rural Bangladesh

While Bangladesh has experienced impressive reductions in rural poverty, a considerable proportion of the population remains poor. What factors underlie the inability of some households to move out of poverty over the long term? This was the question asked by researchers from the International Food Policy Research Institute, Data Analysis and Technical Assistance Ltd, and the Chronic Poverty Research Centre. They examined the factors that enable some households and communities in rural Bangladesh to move out of poverty, while others remain trapped in it.

Phase II: Collective Action, Assets, and Vulnerability: The Gendered Impact of Collective Action in Bangladesh - More information

Phase III: Understanding the impact of idiosyncratic shocks on farm productivity and household asset building and protection in Ghana, Ethiopia and Bangladesh - More information

Phase IV: What Development Interventions Work? The long-term impact and cost-effectiveness of anti-poverty interventions in Bangladesh

While Government and NGOs in Bangladesh have undertaken many interventions designed to help households escape poverty, little is known about their long-term impact. Using the longitudinal data set constructed in Phase 1 of this study, this project will investigate the long-term impact of three anti-poverty interventions—microfinance, agricultural technology, and educational transfers—on several measures of well-being and compare their cost-effectiveness.

Both quantitative and qualitative techniques will be used. The main quantitative techniques include matching beneficiaries to comparable non-beneficiaries and panel data regression analysis, while the main qualitative technique will involve analysis of the focus group discussions and life histories that have been collected as part of the ongoing longitudinal study.


Baulch and Associates
BASIS Assets and Market Access Collaborative Research Support Program
Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC)
Cornell University
Data Analysis and Technical Assistance, Ltd. (DATA)
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Systemwide Initiative on Collective Action and Property Rights (CAPRi)
University of Bath
University of Waikato
World Bank


Poverty Transitions, Shocks, and Consumption in Rural Bangladesh: Preliminary Results from a Longitudinal Household Survey. 2007. Agnes Quisumbing. CPRC Working Paper 105/International Food Policy Research Institute.
(Download PDF 618K)

Discussions among the poor: exploring poverty dynamics with focus groups in Bangladesh. 2007. Peter Davis. CPRC Working Paper 84. Chronic Poverty Research Centre: Manchester
(Download PDF 256K)