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Research Unit on Social Justice and Policy

Director: Dr. Subha Mani

CIPS Research Unit on Social Justice and Policy seeks to contribute to research and policy on multiple aspects of economic and social development in both developed and developing countries. The research unit aims to:

  • Generate research on a wide range of economic and social issues related to social justice.
  • Advise policy makers and practitioners through the dissemination of new knowledge through research briefs and presentations.

Research is conducted in a multi-disciplinary context in three main interrelated areas related to social justice: well-being and poverty, disadvantaged groups and program evaluation. Each of these areas is described below.

Well-being and Poverty

Our goal is to improve measurements of well-being and poverty and to understand how public policies shape people’s well-being. Poverty has traditionally been understood and measured as deprivation in material well being through income and consumer expenditures data. This unit will work on alternative poverty measures that cover deprivations in overall well-being. Such alternative poverty measures are multi-dimensional and include both material and non-material dimensions (e.g., social integration, dignity). These measures will be used in the context of policy evaluations, for instance in order to assess the poverty reduction effect of social assistance programs.

Disadvantaged Groups

Our goal is to study well-being and poverty within groups that have been traditionally disadvantaged from an economic and social standpoint. Such groups include for instance persons with disabilities, children, the elderly.

Our focus will be in three interrelated areas:

  • An assessment of the extent of deprivation for such groups
  • A study of how their well being is affected by policies, programs and shocks (e.g., financial crisis, drought)
  • An investigation of the causes of disadvantage

Program Evaluation

Our goal is to evaluate programs using rigorous evaluation practices and methods to generate new knowledge about effective economic and social programs. As noted above, evaluations will cover programs aimed at improving well-being and poverty such as social assistance and social insurance programs and may focus on impacts on disadvantaged groups.