Poverty and Equity

IIASA research investigates the drivers of poverty and inequality, their impacts on human well-being and the environment, and the impacts of policies and general development on the poor and most vulnerable.

IIASA researchers are examining many of the key dimensions of poverty– poor economic development, low education levels, lack of social safety nets, inadequate access to energy, food and water, the devastating impacts of natural disasters, the low adaptive capacity of poor populations to climate change, and the lack of inclusive and legitimate governance. IIASA is exploring new and fresh approaches in the application of systems analysis to examine the synergies and trade-offs between multiple dimensions of human deprivation.

Researchers are also assessing the relationship between the poor and the environment, including impacts on forests, soil, air and water quality, food production and land-use.

Income inequality is prevalent in both developed and developing economies. IIASA research focuses on examining patterns of income distribution, their causes, and incorporates them into systems models.

Research on equity extends beyond income inequality to understanding other distributional concerns, such as the socio-economic problems related to rapidly aging populations in developed countries, the extent of people’s vulnerabilities to natural disasters in comparison to their exposure to them, and the effects of inequitable education opportunities on human capital development and on development in general.

More information about current research in IIASA's Poverty and Equity global problem area:

World Population Program

The World Population Program is completed in 2020 and the research is being continued in the Population and Just Societies Program (POPJUS).Human population trends are a key factor in sustainable development. We study and project how the changing composition of population matters for social, economic and the environmental change and how human health and well-being are being affected.  More

Ecosystems Services and Management (2011-2020)

The Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Program aims to improve our understanding of ecosystems in today’s changing world—in particular, the current state of ecosystems, and their ecological thresholds and buffering capacities.New research related to ESM program can now be found in the new Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program and the Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability Research Group. More


The overall objective of the Energy Program (ENE) is to understand the nature of alternative future energy transitions, their implications for human well-being and the environment, and how they might be shaped and directed by current and future decision makers. More

Risk and Resilience

The Risk and Resilience (RISK) Program  aims to better understand the risks to economic, ecological, and social systems arising from global change and to help  transform the ways in which societies manage them. More

Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases (AIR) ( - 2020)

Around the world, AIR's systems approach is framing new policies that maximize co-benefits between air quality management, greenhouse gas mitigation and other policy priorities. Ongoing and new research related to the AIR program can now be found in the Pollution Management Research Group of the new Energy, Climate and Environment Program. More

Evolution and Ecology

Developing new methods and pioneering their applications, the Evolution and Ecology Program (EEP) analyzes and forecasts how ecological and evolutionary dynamics shape populations, communities, and ecosystems. More

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Last edited: 05 April 2016

Improving Energy Access for the Poor

Education and Development

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Poverty Traps

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313