A short history of ‘pro-poor policy’ 1970–2010

Paul Mosley

in The Politics of Poverty Reduction

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199692125
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739286 | DOI:
A short history of ‘pro-poor policy’ 1970–2010

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When development studies were born, after decolonization in the middle of the twentieth century, poverty was not an important concern of policy-makers. This chapter asks how this situation changed in the early 1970s, to launch the main question of how the interests of the poor became incorporated in policy-making. New data became available, showing that famine was still occurring and that a third of the poor were not gaining from growth; inclusive policies were presented as a means of allaying threats to state security within a cold war environment, especially in Asian developing countries; and a big boost was given to these policies by the commitment of donors – especially Robert MacNamara, the new World Bank president – to reorientate lending policies towards urban poverty and rural development. Under the stress of global crisis, poverty focus among aid donors decayed in the 1980s, but it continued among many recipients, especially in South and South-East Asia. In the 1990s, it was relaunched, first tentatively, as a means of protecting the losers from global adjustment (a process which, with the end of the cold war, now embraced Russia and the former Soviet Union) and then more decisively, a process which culminated in the Millennium Development Goals. In the 2000s, with the decay of the Washington consensus, the idea of pro-poor orientation becomes incorporated into a more state-dominated politics in a number of middle-income, especially Latin American, countries.

Keywords: history; aid donors; non-governmental organizations (NGOs); rural development; Millennium Development Goals

Chapter.  17642 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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