Welcome to the University of Sheffield  ‘ Political Economy of Poverty and Social Inclusion’ website. This has three components:

(1) Papers, videos and datasets related to the research programme on  ‘Music, social inclusion and well-being in North and South’, initiated by the University’s Department of Economics (together with the University of Leeds and York St John University) in late 2017.

(2) Papers, typescripts and datasets related to the research programme on ‘Microfinance and poverty in Britain’ financed by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation in association with Barclays Bank and the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills(BIS), which ended in March 2011.

(3) Papers, typescripts and datasets relating to the Political Economy of Pro-Poor Growth programme, established at the University of Sheffield in September 2005. This was financed by the ESRC as part of its World Economy and Finance programme, and seeks to understand the political reasons why measures to combat economic crisis impact in different ways on the welfare of low income groups.  Building on this research, we explore the different patterns of state intervention visible in developing countries since the “East-Asian” crisis of the late 1990s, and make recommendations for policy and institutional reforms in the interests of poor people.

Enquiries concerning all the research and data posted on this website are welcome; please contact Paul Mosley (p.mosley@sheffield.ac.uk).


Research programme: Music, social inclusion and well-being in North and South

Music, social inclusion and well-being in North and South

  • Paul Mosley (University of Sheffield)
  • Jairo Lugo-Ocando (University of Leeds)
  • Lee Higgins (York St John University)
  • Antonella Coppi (Free University of Bolzano, Italy)

We have long known that the arts do not thrive if their provision is left to the free market. However, some exciting recent initiatives in music teaching and performance have attempted not just to fill a gap in the market but at the same time to try and transform society, and in particular to address problems of global poverty, inadequacy of welfare systems and social conflict. However, there has so far been no serious analysis of how effective these initiatives are, and how to make them work better. This is our focus. Operating in collaboration with a range of partners and collaborators in both the global North and the global South, we ask:

(1) What impact have music education and community-music organisations had on lower income groups?

(2) Through what channels has this impact materialised?

(3) In what cases can it be claimed that the impact is enduring, rather than transient and short-term?

(4) What can we learn from this comparison? In particular, what activities, institutional changes and policy reforms could most effectively increase this impact, and thereby contribute to more effective music education and to the reduction of poverty and inequality globally?

The project is a collaboration, possibly unprecedented, between a community musician (Higgins), a media specialist(Lugo-Ocando) and a development economist (Mosley).

1) The social impact of community music (14.10.19)

2) Community music -draft topic guide (30.09.17)

3) Partner-profiles-revised-10.08.18

4) AHRC-community-music-project-Bibliography-10.09.18

As in our previous research funded by AHRC, ESRC, DFID and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation (see Higgins 2012,  Hulme and Mosley 1996, Mosley 2004, 2012, and Lenton and Mosley 2011, 2015) we involve the partner institutions from whom we collect our data as co-creative researchers, using them as spearheads for promoting impact and proposing ideas on how it might be enhanced.

As the project proceeds, we shall post relevant research findings, data and materials on this website. Already on the website (see ‘Community music…’ and ‘Partner profiles… in paragraph above) are the research protocol (draft questionnaire) and profiles of our research partners.

Research programme: Microfinance and poverty in Britain(2006-10)

This research programme, financed by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation with assistance from Barclays Bank and the UK Department of Trade and Industry (now BIS), explored the effectiveness of community development finance institutions(CDFIs), which were established in Britain and other industrialised countries in the 1990s, in the wake of the success of third-world microfinance, to provide fair-priced financial services to households who, because of their low income and high risk profile, were excluded from conventional financial services. The investigators were Paul Mosley and Pamela Lenton of the University of Sheffield.

Interviews were conducted in Glasgow, Sheffield, Derby and Birmingham between 2006 and 2010, during the period when the UK economy entered a period of global recession: the research thus illustrates the factors which, in different environments, best enabled households to withstand the recession. Within each of these cities, sample sizes averaged about 150, with a control group of 50 in each city. Results and recommendations were written up in the Routledge book Financial Inclusion and the Poverty Trap(2011) and in a paper by Lenton and Mosley published in Urban Studies (March 2014). These papers, and the database used in this research, are reproduced on this website.

Research programme: Political economy of pro-poor growth

This research programme was established in 2005 with finance from the ESRC to explore the impact of adjustment policies on low-income groups; it then, as the project progressed, grew into an inquiry into the global determinants of ‘pro-poor growth’: the ability of economic growth strategies and policies to improve the living standards of poor people. Fieldwork was in nine locations: Argentina, Bolivia, Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia,Kenya, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Ghana. The researchers were Paul Mosley, Jean Grugel, and Ben Thirkell-White of the University of Sheffield, assisted by Blessing Chiripanhura (then also at the University of Sheffield, now at the University of Namibia), Pia Riggirozzi (University of Southampton) and Altay Mussurov (National University of Kazakhstan).

The central results of the research were published in two books, The politics of poverty reduction by Mosley and others (Oxford U.P. 2012) and Governance after liberalisation in Latin America by Jean Grugel and Pia Riggirozzi (Palgrave Macmillan 2009). The output of the project was commended as Outstanding in a post-evaluation letter from the ESRC dated 22.1.10. The dataset used to estimate the results presented in the Mosley et al. book, together with a first draft of the book itself, are presented on this website.


P. Mosley, ‘The “political poverty trap” in Bolivia’ (2007)

J. Grugel and P. Riggirozzi, ‘The return of the state in Argentina’ (2007)

B. Chiripanhura, J.Grugel, P. Mosley, B. White, “‘Why adopt pro-poor policies?’ Varieties of adjustment strategy during the global crisis” (2008)

S. Bowden and P. Mosley, ‘Politics, public expenditure and the evolution of poverty in Africa 1920-2007’ (2008)

P. Mosley, J. Hudson and P. Lenton, ‘The ‘social efficiency wage’ (2007)

A. Mussurov and P. Mosley, ‘Poverty and economic growth in Russia’s regions’.

A. Mussurov and P. Mosley, ‘Economic crisis and political protest in a transition economy: evidence from Russia’.

P. Mosley and B. Chiripanhura, ‘What harm does the political business cycle do? Evidence from a sample of developing countries’.

B. Chiripanhura and P. Mosley, ‘Liberalisation and poverty in Africa since 1990 – why is the operation of the ‘invisible hand’ uneven’?

N. Fiess, B. Chiripanhura and P. Mosley, ‘The political economy of riot-type conflict in developing countries’.