Volume 2 : Success from the Bottom Up

Why and how do some people move out of poverty—and stay out—while others remain trapped? Most books on growth and poverty reduction are dominated by the perspectives of policy makers and academic experts. In contrast, Moving Out of Poverty: Success from the Bottom Up presents the experiences of poor people who have made it out of poverty.

The findings draw from the Moving Out of Poverty research conducted in communities in 15 countries in Africa, East Asia, Latin America, and South Asia. The authors synthesize the results of qualitative and quantitative research based on discussions with over 60,000 people in rural areas. They offer bottom-up perspectives on the processes and local institutions that play key roles in escapes from poverty.

study finds that there are no differences in the initiatives taken by the poor, the rich, and the upwardly mobile. What, then, explains the difference in outcomes? The authors demonstrate how - in the face of deep social inequalities that block access to economic opportunities and local democracies - individual initiative and empowerment by themselves are often not enough to escape poverty.

This book will be of interest to all concerned with equity in an increasingly unequal world.


  1. “Today, too few people around the world have enough opportunity to connect their dreams and their talents with the outcomes of their efforts to lift themselves out of poverty. As we work to expand these opportunities, we can learn a lot from the voices of the poor themselves, especially those who have lifted themselves up successfully. This book, based on conversations with thousands of people around the world, is an important resource for everyone who’s working to alleviate poverty.”
    By Bill Clinton - Former President, United States
  2. “Here is a treasure trove of stories, data, and creative analysis that no one who cares about ending poverty should miss…. From thousands of interviews in 15 poor countries, the authors extract some surprising conclusions: Most poor people do not feel trapped; local markets and politics and community leadership and institutions matter more than average national income in who escapes poverty. An important complement to the World Bank-sponsored Spence Commission Report on growth.”
    By Nancy Birdsall - President, Center for Global Development