Eliminating Human Poverty

Macroeconomic and Social Policies for Equitable Growth

Santosh Mehrotra and Enrique Delamonica


Drawing on their own broad-ranging research at UNICEF and UNDP, the authors argue that fiscal, monetary, and other macro-economic policies for poverty reduction, human development and economic growth can be compatible with micro-level interventions to provide basic social services.
This book focuses on the provision of basic social services - in particular, access to education, health and water supplies - as the central building blocks of any human development strategy. The authors concentrate on how these basic social services can be financed and delivered more effectively to achieve the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals.

Their analysis, which departs from the dominant macro-economic paradigm, deploys the results of broad-ranging research they led at UNICEF and UNDP, investigating the record on basic social services of some 30 developing countries. In seeking to learn from these new data, they develop an analytical argument around two potential synergies: at the macro level, between poverty reduction, human development and economic growth, and at the micro level, between interventions to provide basic social services. Policymakers, they argue, can integrate macro-economic and social policy. Fiscal, monetary, and other macro-economic policies can be compatible with social sector requirements. They make the case that policymakers have more flexibility than is usually presented by orthodox writers and international financial institutions, and that if policymakers engaged in alternative macro-economic and growth-oriented policies, this could lead to the expansion of human capabilities and the fulfillment of human rights. This book explores some of these policy options.

The book also argues that more than just additional aid is needed. Specific strategic shifts in the areas of aid policy, decentralized governance, health and education policy and the private-public mix in service provision are a prerequisite to achieve the goals of human development. The combination of governance reforms and fiscal and macro-economic policies outlined in this book can eliminate human poverty in the span of a generation.

Author Bio

Santosh Mehrotra is a human development economist educated at the New School for Social Research, New York, and the University of Cambridge where he did his doctorate. He was Associate Professor in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, before moving to the United Nations in 1991. For the past 15 years he has worked on the human impact of macro-economic policy. He led UNICEF's research programme on economic and social policy on developing countries at the Innocenti Research Centre, Florence, 1999-2002. He was a co-author of the Human Development Report (2002-2004) and Regional Economic Adviser for Poverty for the Asia region (2005-6). His books include: India and the Soviet Union: Trade and Technology Transfer (1990); Development with a Human Face: Experiences in Social Achievement and Economic Growth (with Sir Richard Jolly) (1997); Le Developpement a Visage Humain (2001); Universalizing Elementary Education in India: Uncaging the Tiger Economy (2005) (coauthored); The Economics of Elementary Education in India, ed. (2006); and Asian Informal Workers: Global Risks, Local Protection (with M. Biggeri) (2006). He is currently advisor to the Planning Commission, Government of India, and is involved in writing India's 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2011). Website: http://santoshmehrotra.org

Enrique Delamonica is an economist and political scientist educated at the University of Buenos Aires, Columbia University, and the New School for Social Research. For almost 15 years, as a consultant for UNICEF and UNDP and a policy analyst in UNICEF Headquarters, he has worked on the impact of macroeconomic policies on children, poverty reduction strategies, financing of social services and budget allocations, the analysis of trends in socio-economic disparities, child poverty measurement, and social protection policies. He has published widely, including two co-edited books on issues of social policy, particularly as they affect children. He has also taught economics, international development, policy analysis and research methods at New York University, Columbia University, the University of Buenos Aires, the Institute for Social and Economic Development (Argentina), and the New School. Currently he teaches at Saint Peter’s College in New Jersey.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Part I: Macroeconomic Policies
    • 1. Integrating macroeconomic and social policies to trigger synergies
    • 2. Macroeconomic policies and institutions for pro-poor growth
  • Part II: Public expenditure on basic health services
    • 3. The inadequacy of public spending on basic social services
    • 4. The distribution of benefits of health and education spending
    • 5. Policies to enhance efficiency and improve delivery in the public provision of basic social services
    • 6. Governance reforms to address the systemic problems of state provision of basic services
    • 7. Promoting complementarity between public and private provision
  • Part III: Mobilizing domestic and external resources
    • 8. Taxation and mobilization of additional resources for public social services
    • 9. The consistency between aid and trade policies and the Millennium Goals
  • Conclusion


'This book has an ambitious agenda. It offers a framework for conceptualizing macroeconomic policies on the assumption that people matter. The authors demonstrate a sure grasp of the complexities of policy-making to reduce poverty. This book offers an indispensable guide to policy makers and development practitioners.'

Professor Ajit Singh, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge '

This book gets to the core of what will be needed to revive economic growth after the slowdown in much of the developing world over the last 25-30 years - by reversing the deflationary tendency of much contemporary macroeconomic policy.'

Jomo K. S., Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

'A vital reference for donors, NGOs and others wanting to see the MDGs achieved - but uncertain how much it will cost. The analysis and 30 country case-studies provide important evidence and hard analysis to fill the gap between over-simple estimates of costs and over-cautious pessimism on policies.'

Sir Richard Jolly, former architect of the Human Development Report

'This book is the blueprint for eradicating world poverty in the 21st century. Forget Stiglitz, move on from Sachs: this book based on over a decade of committed work in UNDP and UNICEF marks the real turning point away from neo-liberalism in the global discourse about economic and social policy.'

Bob Deacon, Professor of International Social Policy, Director of Globalism and Social Policy Programme, Sheffield University, UK

'This is an excellent, timely book...Innovative, clearly written, readable and draws on a comprehensive range of research.'

Dr David Lewis, Reader in Social Policy, London School of Economics


Publication Date: 19 April 2007
448 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781842777732
eBook ePub: 9781848136557
eBook PDF: 9781848130937
eBook Kindle: 9781780327785
Library Edition: 9781842777725

Appears in

Why is peer review so important?

Learn more about the various types of peer review, why it’s so important, what the social and political considerations of peer review are and how we use it at Zed Books.