The founding proposition of the IPPG Programme is that the interactions of economic, political, social and cultural institutions constitute a matrix that may either enhance or constrain pro-poor growth. The task of the Programme is then to identify historically and comparatively those institutional sets and contexts that enhance pro-poor growth, and – recognizing that the history of the evolution of institutions in any society reflects the changing bargaining power of different social groups – to show how such patterns of institutional interaction change or may be helped to change. Our further aim is to identify the conditions under which coalitions of stakeholders may be encouraged to adapt, adopt, negotiate and change institutional matrices that will be conducive to pro-poor growth.
The inspiration for the programme comes from two sources; the first is the recognition that ‘institutions’ – meaning relatively stable social arrangements and the formal roles, laws and conventions, and informal norms that are associated with them – exercise an enormously important influence upon patterns and rates of economic development and change. The second is the concern that while it is by now clear that economic growth is a necessary condition for the sustainable reduction of poverty; it is not a sufficient condition for such reduction to take place. Consequently, if the objectives that are reflected in the Millennium Development Goals are to be accomplished, it is necessary to think if ways whereby growth can be made distinctly pro-poor.