Committed to the Pursuit of Excellence
The Department of International Development is committed to the pursuit of excellence in interdisciplinary research to further understand the processes of social, political and economic change within the developing world and in the international political economy.
We aim to promote research that addresses the problems and policy options facing actors in both the South and the North who are concerned with poverty reduction and the ultimate improvement of social, economic and political life in poor countries and regions across the world. Our faculty and research associates include scholars committed to research at the local level, as well as those working on issues of national development and international relations and policy.
International Development encourages both individual scholarly research and collaborative research within the Department, across the London School of Economics, and with partners throughout the developed and developing world.
We believe our research is enhanced by the interface with our postgraduate teaching and research student programmes and collaborative and consultancy work with national and international development agencies, non-governmental organisations working on development and the private sector at home and abroad. Most of our faculty and research associates have experience in the world of development practice or policy-making.
The research units currently collaborated by members of the department are:
The Justice and Security Research Programme
The Justice and Security Research Programme (JSRP) is a research consortium led by LSE’s Department of International Development (ID) in partnership with academic and media organisations from the global North and South, and with funding from the UK Department for International Development (DfID).
Between 2011 and 2016, the JSRP is generating primary evidence about the informal institutions that govern the lives of people in a range of fragile or war-affected locations. Its focus is on understanding the relationship between ‘official’ and ‘hybrid’ governance structures to find out what arrangements best benefit those at the receiving end of policies to support justice and security
All information for the Justice and Security Research Programme, including up-to-date details of events and publications, is now available on the JSRP blog.
The Justice and Security Research Programme.
The Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit
This research unit investigates the way in which ordinary people shape or try to shape the decisions that affect their lives – with a particular focus on security. Civil society here refers to the medium through which individuals can participate in public debates. Human security refers to the security of local communities rather than that which operates between states and borders.
It also seeks to explain how individuals and social actors navigate the disjunctures between institutions and everyday life, whether these lie between financial institutions and low-income home owners, between military capabilities and the insecurity of ordinary Afghans or Iraqis, between global deals on climate change and the vulnerability to floods and famine, or between formal elections and the aspirations of street protesters. Find out more:
The Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit.
The International Growth Centre (LSE-wide Initiative)
The International Growth Centre (IGC) was established in 2008 with funding by the UK government's Department for International Development (DfID). Based at LSE in partnership with the University of Oxford, the IGC aims to promote sustainable growth in developing countries by providing demand-led policy advice based on frontier research. By linking policymakers with researchers and fieldwork teams, the research carried out since its inception has influenced growth policy debates at national and global levels.
In 2014, the IGC commenced four new research themes: States; Firms; Cities; and Energy. It has completed over 600 research projects, The IGC currently runs 15 country offices in 14 partner states, and boasts a network of over 1,000 internationally acclaimed researchers. Find out more:
The International Growth Centre (an LSE-wide initiative).
Past research centres that have been collaborated through the department include:
The Crisis States Research Network (2000 - 2012)
The Crisis States centre was established in 2000 to investigate two major lines of enquiry: firstly, the processes that led states to collapse into violence; and secondly, how communities in poor countries dealt with the shocks or 'conditions' of crisis.
Under the directorship of Prof. James Putzel, the Centre carried out a comparative research programme in collaboration with several overseas research institutes and universities. This was undertaken under three broad themes: Development as State-making; Cities and Fragile States; and Global and Regional Axes of Conflict.
The overarching final report, 'Meeting the Challenges of Crisis States', was formally launched in October 2012. Co-authored by James Putzel and John DiJohn, this summarises the wide-ranging research undertaken by the Crisis States Research Programme and highlights key policy messages.
The Crisis States Research Centre.
Non-Governmental Public Action Programme (2003-2009)
The Economic and Social Research Council's NGPA programme officially ended in September 2009 and the final conference of the Non-Governmental Public Action Conference Organising for Social Justice was held on the 14th and 15th of January 2009 in Westminster, London. Publications and working papers have continued until 2011.
Non-Governmental Public Action Programme.
Global War on Terror: Non-Governmental Public Action and Aid (2009-2012)
This research project was initiated to describe and analyse the effects of the post-9/11 global security regime on development policy and practice and non-governmental public action, especially relating to marginalised and vulnerable groups. The project explored these issues through case studies of Afghanistan, India, Kenya as well as further fieldwork in the USA, Denmark, and the UK.
Global War on Terror.
A Leading Department for Research Impact
Since 2009, the Department of International Development has become established as one of the UK's leading departments in this field.
The latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) confirmed that 81% of the work submitted for assessment was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent. The Department was also ranked equal first in the UK for the proportion of its research impact rated at 3 or 4 stars.
Below, you will find the department's case studies, which demonstrate how our research benefits society and informs domestic and international policymakers about the work undertaken here at LSE.
A new approach to eradicating 'neglected' tropical diseases
The Department's Tim Allen established that social factors crucially influence the take-up of drugs in mass disease eradication programmes. With over a billion people at risk of, or currently suffering from, 'neglected' tropical diseases, Professor Allen sought to investigate how effective mass drug programmes are at eliminating and controlling diseases.
Find out more.
Evolving a new European response to conflict and disaster
As the 21st Century arrived, it was established that Europe required a re-think of its procedures for responding to crises beyond its borders. In particular, it needed a overarching principle for its response that could help to reduce violence, deliver aid, and restore civility without resorting to force. Professor Mary Kaldor led a study group to develop proposals for the design of new European security capabilities.
Find out more.
Strengthening civil society in developing countries through targeted aid
Donor organisations from other countries cannot always be clear which civil society organisations are legitimate or genuinely transparent. Donor organisations also face practical challenges. Jude Howell was commissioned by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) to review the Australian Government's approach to civil society in its aid programme for developing countries. As a result of Professor Howell's work, AusAID issued a new policy statement on Effective Governance.
Find out more.
Investigating and tackling corruption in African ports
High levels of corruption in Mozambique’s port of Maputo have severely affected the country’s attempts to position itself as the gateway into Southern Africa and recover from the civil war of the early 1990s. The effectiveness of the port in Maputo is a significant factor in the country’s ability to develop and grow its economy. Dr Sandra Sequeira conducted an investigation into corruption at the port, comparing Maputo with its competitor, Durban in South Africa. She discovered that the probability of paying a bribe was much higher in Maputo, and that the average size of the bribe was also approximately three times higher.
Find out more.
The department holds weekly research seminars for its staff and PhD students. These are co-convened by Mary Kaldor and Mayling Birney, and currently take place on Wednesdays from 12:15 until 14:00.
See the full Wednesday schedule here (Lent Term 2015/16).
Postgraduate students can also attend Friday afternoon lectures for DV445, 'Research Themes in International Development'. These are co-ordinated by our Professor in Practice for Lent Term, Dr Duncan Green. Duncan is the Senior Strategic Adviser at Oxfam.
Duncan also blogs on the progress of the lecture course. This can be accessed here >>
Current projects managed by researchers in the department include:
Mozambique Election Data
All of the available data from Mozambique elections held between 1999 and 2014 has been made freely available on our website as part of a collaborative open-access research project initiated by Dr Joseph Hanlon. The election data, as published by the National Elections Commission, includes some Constitutional Council rulings, some parallel vote tabulations (PVTs), and official lists of polling stations which follow the official results.
Since the raw data comes in a variety of formats and different levels of detail, it will require some reformatting to make it more conducive to statistical analysis. We hope to establish a collaborative network of scholars doing statistical research and analysis on Mozambique elections, and to share the data sets and works in progress by members of this network.
Find out more about the project here >>