The Oxford Martin Programme on the

Future of Development

The Challenge

The research programme will identify how to create a future of shared prosperity and economic justice in developing countries, in the context of technological, climate, demographic and other megatrends.

The programme aims to move from a preoccupation with aggregate growth to one of economic justice based on the provision of meaningful work and livelihoods for all citizens. Our aim is to provide an agenda for action in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has severely derailed the development agenda.

The uniqueness of the research programme lies in combining high-level analysis of key global drivers of change, which frame the challenges and opportunities for individual countries, with a forward-looking empirical analysis of different countries and settings.

The programme will identify the key drivers of change that will shape the employment opportunities and constraints facing businesses, workers and governments in developing countries. There are a range of megatrends, from automation to climate change, whose implications will dramatically change the paths to successful growth in developing countries. The changing world of work, including due to artificial intelligence, robotics, and other disruptive technologies which are reshaping occupations and industries, will have profound and poorly understood consequences for the developing world. The research will seek to identify the evolution and needs of future jobs and the implications for education and skills, labour markets and policies, taking into account demographics as rapidly expanding and youthful populations are likely to face different challenges to ageing societies.

The rapidly evolving shifts in global political and economic power, and their implications for globalization, trade, investment, and supply chains will shape the environment in which growth and employment will evolve in the decades to come. The programme will consider the negative disruptions caused by climate change as well as the positive opportunities that green stimulus packages and private investment in the energy transition could provide for labour-intensive employment. The examination of this broader context will inform the options to create employment opportunities and improve livelihoods.

The programme will show how in the light of these megatrends sustainable employment opportunities can be developed, which provide a living wage and overcome historical economic injustice. The applicability of the suggested solutions will be tested in a range of different countries and contexts, including both poor and middle-income countries. The global analysis will be grounded in specific tangible illustrative examples of what can be done and how shared prosperity and economic justice can be achieved.

The programme will be directed by Professor Ian Goldin, and work closely with the Oxford Martin School research groups he is responsible for on the Future of Work and Technological and Economic Change. Collaboration with research efforts being undertaken in Oxford and elsewhere is envisaged to maximise the impact of the research.

This research programme has been made possible thanks to a generous donation from Allan and Gill Gray Foundation.