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Profile: ACIB, BA (Economics) MA (Economic Development and Policy Analysis) PhD (Economics) University of Nottingham


Administrative Positions

2016-19, School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED), Athena Swan

2013-16, School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) and University Ethics Committee - Chair

2008-13, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM)/School of Economics : Development Economics and Policy Seminar Series - Co-Convenor

2007-9, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM): PGR - Discipline co-ordinator

2005, Development Economics and Public Policy (DEPP) - Cluster convenor.

2004+, MSc International Development: Public Policy and Management (PPM) - Program Director; Economics Analysis of the Public Sector (EAPS) and Public Sector Reform and Management (PSRM) - Module Convenor. Gender and Development – Contributor.


Professional Positions

2018 -  Senior Researcher, Nordic Africa Institute 

2015-16, Pivotal Ventures - Invited Expert 

2011-12, OECD, Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) - Invited Expert

2009-11, World Health Organisation (WHO), Scientific Resource Group (SRG) on Equity Analysis and Research - Panel Expert.

2009-16, Brooks World Poverty Institute (BWPI), University of Manchester - Faculty Associate.

2009-11, Herbert Simon Institute (HSI), MBS, University of Manchester - Fellow.

2003-10, Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC) - Research Fellow.

2003-8, Global Poverty Research Group (GPRG), Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) at Oxford University, and the Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM) University of Manchester

2005-7, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), BRAC, Bangladesh - Visiting Research Fellow

Research interests

My specialised research area utilises microeconometric and ‘Q-squared’ (quantitative and qualitative) research methods to analyse (extreme) poverty, particularly in relation to health (inequalities) and gender issues, in low-middle income countries but especially within sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Most recently this work has focused on conceptualising and measuring extreme poverty through the use of unintended panels, exploring the impact of cash transfers and other programs and policies (“What Works for the Poorest”) on extreme poverty/welfare in SSA. Current research projects focus on intertemporal analysis of income decomposition, gender empowerment (indexed social norms) violence and employment effects, access to justice, and the impact of climate hazards and urbanisation on child welfare and extreme poverty.

Other research

Selected Research Projects:

Engendering Access to Justice for Development in sub-Saharan Africa (2018-19), ESRC/IAA

Gender and Employment Effects of Structural Reforms on the Very Poorest in Developing Countries - Impact and Access to Justice (2012-14-16), British Academy, UoM.

Gender and Employment in Central Asia (2012-15) German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), Germany - IZA/DFID G|L|M, LIC Programme (430,000 euros).

Community Based System (CoBaSys) (2010-13) Community Based HIV/AIDS Impact Solutions in Southern SSA.  EU/ACP (1.1m euros).

Financial Crisis, Development and the Changing Shape of the Global Economy(2010), Co-convenor of this Economics and Social Research Council (ESRC) 2nd Annual Development Economics Conference.

Future Directions for Norwegian Development Finance (2010), NORAD

Gender-Based Inequality and Violence: Implications for Health and Poverty - A Cross-country Analysis for sub-Saharan Africa (2007-8-9), British Academy, University of Nottingham.

Chronic and Extreme Poverty in SSA (2002-9), Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC) and Global Poverty Research Groups (GPRG). Led research(ers)/themes investigated chronic and extreme poverty across SSA, calculating global extreme poverty numbers and contributor to Chronic Poverty Reports (2004, 2008).

Understanding Poverty Dynamics and Extreme Poverty in SSA (2004-7), Department for International Development (DFID UK, Uganda).

Gender and Poverty in sub-Saharan Africa (2003-6), World Bank (Washington D.C.).

Health and Poverty Dynamics in SSA (2003-4), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship


Further information

Country Experience

Bangladesh, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia, Nigeria, St Kitts and Nevis, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda.


Completed PhD Students

Peter Agamile  “Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Welfare Changes in Uganda”.

Ibrahim Kasirye, 'Agriculture and Gender in Developing Countries: The Case for Uganda'.

Gordon Abeke-Nkrumah, 'Determinants of Utilisation of Maternal Healthcare Services in Ghana'

Lawrence Ado-Kofie, “The Distributional Impact of Economic Growth on Non-Income Dimension of Poverty in Ghana”

Olabimton Adebowale “Microfinance and Its Impact on The Dynamics of Poverty: A Case Study of Nigeria”

Alma Kudebayeva, “Measurement and Determinants of Poverty in Kazakhstan during the boom of 2000’s: Alternative Approaches”



Professional Experience/Background:

David Lawson has more than 25 years of experience in development economics and application of public policy in lower and lower middle income countries. He has five years, combined experience, as resident government advisor in Ethiopia, Lesotho and Uganda. His research interests are in development economics and public policy, but more specifically related to conceptual and applied policy understanding of extreme and chronic poverty, particularly related to gender issues. His books include the “What Works for the Poorest” series (Practical Action: 2007, 2010, 2020), “Gender, Poverty and Access to Justice: Policy Implementation in SSA” (Routledge, 2020), and author of “Cash Transfers for the Poverty Reduction: An International Operational Guide” (Routledge, 2023). He has substantial research management and administration experience, having lead interdisciplinary teams. He has consulted extensively for donors such as World Bank, UNICEF and DFID. Most recently he was an advisor to Melinda Gates on issues of gendered time poverty, and panel advisor on health equity and gender issues for WHO, founding advisor for the OECD Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI), and lead consultant for UNICEF on restructuring child social welfare programs in Southern Africa.

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 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Senior Researcher, Nordic Africa Institute

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Global Development Institute


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