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Dr Peter Davis
Dr Peter Davis will be talking to policymakers in Washington DC about ways of tackling chronic poverty

Press Release - 19 February 2009

Academics to brief new US Administration on tackling poverty

Whilst the credit crunch is hitting people hard in the UK, a researcher from the University of Bath says the current global economic downturn will have even more drastic consequences for those in the developing world who already live on the poverty line.

Dr Peter Davis, from the University’s Department of Economics & International Development, has devised new methods of assessing poverty that could help policymakers to tackle the underlying causes of chronic poverty that affect millions worldwide.

He is one of a small group of researchers invited to present their latest findings to key policymakers from around the world at a conference to be held in Washington DC on 26-27 February 2009.

In his plenary lecture, entitled Parallel Realities: Exploring Poverty Dynamics using Mixed Methods in Rural Bangladesh, Dr Davis will be describing new methods he has developed to assess levels of poverty and understand the underlying causes.

He argues that new research approaches are needed so that public policy can be better informed of the complex realities of peoples’ experience of chronic poverty.

The conference, Escaping Poverty Traps: Connecting the Chronically Poor to Economic Growth aims to move towards formulating a policy agenda to address chronic poverty internationally, including a timely engagement with the new US Administration.

Delegates will include the Administrator of United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and US Senator Richard Lugar, who is a leading legislative advocate for reinvestment in foreign agricultural assistance.

Senior officials from The World Bank, The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and The Gates Foundation will also be attending, ensuring significant policy engagement with research findings in the US and internationally.

Dr Davis said: “I’m excited at this opportunity to engage with the new US Administration on poverty research in this way, and hope that new research approaches can better inform international development policies aimed at reducing chronic poverty in developing countries.

“More than 35 million people in Bangladesh, around a quarter of its population, face absolute poverty and hunger.

“While everybody in the world is being affected by the global economic downturn, those already on or below the poverty line will find themselves in even more desperate circumstances.

“They may go without food or medicine, putting them at greater risk of illness or even death.

“We therefore need to work with policymakers around the world to tackle this chronic problem in Bangladesh and other developing countries.”

Dr Davis is also a contributor to a new book entitled Poverty Dynamics: Interdisciplinary Perspectives published by Oxford University Press which will be launched at the conference. The book was launched in the UK at the Overseas Development Institute in London on 17 February.

He has been investigating the issues forcing families into poverty as part of a long-term study in collaboration with the Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and Data Analysis and Technical Assistance Ltd., Dhaka (DATA) since 2006.

The conference is sponsored by USAID’s Office of Agriculture, the Chronic Poverty Research Centre at the University of Manchester, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the BASIS Assets and Market Access Research Program at the University of Wisconsin.

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: