The Oxford Martin Programme on the

Future of Development

The Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Development (FoD) aims to produce quantitative social science research that contributes to improving livelihoods and resilience in low- and middle-income countries in the coming decade. 

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The programme focuses on labour markets and private sector development, studying investments in human capital, technology, and state capacity, and exploring the impact of these investments in the context of the green energy transition. It has been designed to be adaptable and flexible in its approach to better analyse and understand the key drivers of change that will shape employment opportunities and constraints facing firms, governments, and households.

The programme is directed by Professor Ian Goldin and Dr Christian Meyer. The programme has been made possible thanks to a donation by the Allan and Gill Gray Foundation.

The core research team for the FoD programme consists of independent postdoctoral researchers based at the Oxford Martin School, an interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Oxford focused on urgent global challenges. Research and policy outreach efforts are supported by several predoctoral researchers and a management team.  The breadth of the programme extends far beyond the Oxford team, enabled by academic collaborators and partners across Europe and North America, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Research Themes

Technology and Productivity Growth

The rapid expansion of information and communication technologies offers novel opportunities to deliver information and facilitate boosting productivity. Our researchers study the barriers to technology adoption in low- and middle-income countries and focus on how contextualized information and communication technology can improve income-generating activities, with particular emphasis on agriculture.

Migration and Refugee Communities

The escalating patterns of migration are sparking increasing apprehensions regarding their repercussions on the well-being of both refugees and host communities. Our research is specifically geared towards investigating the effectiveness of interventions designed to facilitate the integration of refugees into host communities, with a particular focus on augmenting their access to diverse economic opportunities.

Livelihoods and Labour Markets

The labour market functions as a dynamic ecosystem where the availability of skills and the demand for those skills converge. This intricate interplay between supply and demand stands as the determining factor shaping the livelihoods of individuals. We aim to delve deeply into how information and job search skills affect matching between employers and jobseekers and extend our focus to overcoming gender bias in hiring.

Gender Equality

In much of the world, gender inequalities in agency, decision-making authority, labour market access, and educational opportunities persist. These disparities are deeply entrenched in cultural attitudes and are passed down from one generation to the next. Our studies highlight the pivotal role of teachers in shaping the gender attitudes of students and examine the impact of shifting teachers' attitudes towards gender rights on students' attitudes.

Education Technologies

The education systems in low- and middle-income countries, in addition to suffering from poor learning outcomes, are highly susceptible to shocks. This vulnerability has raised concerns about learning gaps, and accelerated efforts in advancing remote learning technologies. We explore the potential of digital and non-digital technologies to address the learning crisis and avail education opportunities to the underprivileged.

State Capacity and Development

In the realm of state capacity and development, the role of civil servants has emerged as a focal point of scholarly attention. Yet, amid this discourse, the significance of senior bureaucrats in leadership positions remains a relatively unexplored terrain. Our research seeks to shed light on how the human capital of senior bureaucrats can shape the trajectory of state capacity and ultimately influence the development landscape.