In its broadest sense, development requires not simply sustained, robust levels of overall economic growth, but diminishing (and ultimately eliminating) absolute poverty and profound economic inequalities. Effective public action and good governance are essential to bringing about the conditions that create wealth, allow markets to function, and eliminate poverty.
Over 1 billion people in the world today are extremely poor, living on less than 1 dollar a day. Poverty relief requires the active involvement of governments in the provision of public goods such as drinking water, health clinics and services, sanitation, sewage, education, roads, electricity, and emergency relief, among others. In the developing world, failure on the part of government to deliver these public services often constitutes a major impediment to the alleviation of poverty.
The Program on Poverty and Governance Program at Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law is working to understand the linkages between the quality of governance and developing societies' capacities to meet basic human needs and reduce poverty. Conceived in a broadly comparative international perspective, the Program is engaged in cross-national and field-based research projects, with a particular focus on Latin America and Mexico.