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Guidance on Poverty Assessments

The poverty assessment (PA) is a key instrument of the World Bank's poverty reduction strategy. It is designed to assess the extent and causes of poverty in a given country and to propose a strategy to ameliorate its effects. It reviews levels and changes over time and across regions in poverty indicators, assesses the impact of growth and public actions on poverty and inequality, and reviews the adequacy of a country's poverty monitoring and evaluation arrangements. PAs generally feed into country-owned processes to develop strategies to reduce poverty, help build in-country capacity, and support joint work and partnerships. 

Guidance on Poverty Assessments

The World Bank has prepared a Guidance Note on Poverty Assessments. The note provides good practice guidance to Bank staff, and is not intended to be a mandatory policy document nor are its requirements binding.

Guidance on Specific Topics

The key thematic issues listed below were covered in Poverty Analysis Clinics held at the World Bank, designed to collect and disseminate good practices. We will continue to add topics. If you are interested in a topic, please send us an email at

  • Poverty Assessment: Integrating Gender Analysis - May 6, 2004

Gender inequalities are a major source of multi-dimensional poverty. This clinic concentrated on engendering PAs and discussed some challenges in integrating gender in PAs. The Nicaragua PA was presented as an example.

For more information on gender analysis please see GenderNet.

  • Analysis of institutional barriers to poverty reduction - June 19, 2003

The Guidance Note encourages teams to look at "the key institutional factors that cause and/or perpetrate poverty". But what should such analysis look at? What are good recent examples?

  • Fostering country ownership of poverty analysis: India poverty workshop - June 4, 2003

The Guidance Note encourages teams to support country ownership of analysis and results. The clinic focuses on World Bank support for analytical work on poverty in India over the last two years. The work culminated in a workshop held in Delhi in January 2002. 

Also see Deaton, Angus and Valerie Kozel. 2004. "Data and dogma: the great Indian poverty debate."

  • A programmatic approach to poverty analysis: What is it, and when is it appropriate? - May 13, 2003

The Guidance Note stresses the importance of supporting local capacity and country-based and owned strategy processes to define methodologies, discuss results and develop strategies. This requires a long-term programmatic approach. The programmatic poverty program developed for Russia and the collaborative effort undertaken on poverty analysis and monitoring in Thailand were discussed at this session.  

  • Poverty assessments: the next generation - April 9, 2003

How will the next generation of poverty assessments differ from the old? The session opened with a brief introduction to the Operational Policy 1.00 on Poverty Reduction and the Guidance on Good Practice Poverty Assessments. Then three task managers of recent or ongoing poverty assessments provided feedback on the guidance.

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