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Pro-poorest economic growth: employment and social assistance contributions to the eradication of extreme poverty

Briefing/policy paper

Written by Andrew Shepherd

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There has been much discussion around the post-2015 process of ‘getting to zero’ by 2030: eradicating extreme poverty for the first time in human history. To reach this goal, it is essential to focus on tackling chronic poverty, preventing impoverishment and sustaining escapes from extreme poverty. 

Pro-poor employment interventions are needed to increase the quantity and quality of work for poor people. These should start with the informal economy, where the majority of the chronically poor and vulnerable non-poor work. A combination of different policies are also required to increase the quantity and quality of employment, such as massive public investment in education, critical infrastructures, and industrial policies that focus on labour-intensive manufacturing and service activities. Social protection schemes can be extended to the vulnerable non-poor and the informal economy to prevent people from slipping back into poverty.

This policy brief highlights the importance of making poverty eradication an overarching goal of the post-2015 process, with other goal areas such as employment, education and social assistance all making a contribution towards it, rather than focusing on poverty eradication policies alone. It emphasises the need for pro-poor employment and social assistance policies to sustain poverty escapes.

Andrew Shepherd, Lucy Scott and Chiara Mariotti