Personal profile


Armando Barrientos [BA PhD, Kent] is Emeritus Professor of Poverty and Social Justice at the Global Development Institute. He is also co-Director of the International Research Initiative on Brazil and Africa. Before joining BWPI in 2007, he was Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex and Senior Lecturer in Public Economics and Development at the Institute of Development Policy and Management at Manchester.

His work has been published widely, including articles in World Development, Applied Economics, The Manchester School and Journal of Development Studies. His most recent books are ‘Social Protection for the Poor and Poorest’ (2008, edited with D. Hulme, Palgrave); ‘Just Give Money to the Poor’ (2010, with J. Hanlon and D. Hulme, Kumarian Press); ‘Demographics, Employment and Old Age Security: Emerging Trends and Challenges in South Asia’ (2010, edited with Moneer Alam, MacMillan), and ‘Social Assistance in Developing Countries’ (2013, Cambridge University Press).

He has acted as an adviser to the ILO, the World Bank, DFID, UNRISD, IADB, WIEGO, UN-DESA, UNICEF, and the Caribbean Development Bank.

Research interests

My research interests focus on the linkages existing between welfare programmes and labour markets and on emerging welfare institutions in developing countries. Early research examined the reform of social insurance institutions in Latin America in the 1980s and 1990s, and especially their impact on employment, informality and old age income security. This work led to research on the economic and social effects of ageing in developing countries and the role of non-contributory pension as a means to address old age poverty and vulnerability. More recently, I have focused on social assistance in developing countries, exploring the rapid expansion of antipoverty transfer programmes in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Current work studies emerging tax-transfer systems in low- and middle-income countries.

Research Projects

Brazil’s economics success: Lessons for Africa (with Ed Amann) – This research programme investigates Brazil’s economic growth and poverty and inequality reduction in the 1995-2005 period and policy lessons for African countries. See website at

Gender and employment in Central Asia: Evidence from panel data – (led by SIPRI) this project studies women and labour markets in Kyrgyzstan and the impact of social policies.See website at 

Building the case for investments in social protection in Uganda - Consortium including Makarere, Manchester, and Maastricht Universities studying the economic and social effects of antipoverty transfers. See website at

Improving research infrastructure in social assistance - Two year (2016-2018) project developing a database of social assistance programmes in low- and middle-income countries to support comparative research on emerging welfare institutions. See website at

Tax-transfer systems in Latin America – This project assesses taxes and transfers in Latin American countries, focusing on distributional effects and fiscal contracts.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Global Development Institute
  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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