Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Andy Sumner

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Nationality  British
Name  Andy Sumner
Fields  International development

Andy Sumner wwwkclacukImportedImagesKingsworldwideglobal
Influences  Simon Kuznets, W. Arthur Lewis, Amartya Sen, Dudley Seers, Hans Singer
Influenced by  Simon Kuznets, W. Arthur Lewis, Amartya Sen, Dudley Seers, Hans Singer

Dr andy sumner the new bottom billion

Andy Sumner is an inter-disciplinary development economist, who has published extensively on poverty, inequality and economic development including nine books.


His research is at the interface of development studies and development economics, with a particular focus on middle-income and emerging economies. He has been listed by Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers and Devex website’s ‘Global Development Leaders’ for his work on the ‘new bottom billion’ about poverty in middle-income countries.

Sumner is a Reader in International Development in the Department of International Development, King's College London. He holds associate positions at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, University of Oxford, the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C, UNU-WIDER and Padjadjaran University, Indonesia.

He was Co-Director of the Department of International Development, King’s College London from 2012-2016. Prior to King’s he was a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. From 1998 to 2014 Sumner served as council member of the British Development Studies Association (DSA) and from 2008 to 2014 he was UK representative and Vice President of the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI). Sumner is Deputy Editor and an Editorial Board Member of the journal Global Policy. He is also a board member of the Journal of International Development, and of the European Journal of Development Research and book series co-editor for Palgrave Macmillan’s 'Rethinking International Development'.

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Sumner's research focuses on:

  1. global poverty and inequality;
  2. inclusive growth and structural transformation in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand);
  3. the future of foreign aid and development cooperation in middle-income developing countries.

A central theme of his work is the persistence of poverty in middle-income countries and the implications of national inequality for poverty and theories of poverty. His research seeks to reconnect the analysis of poverty with the study of economic development and structural transformation.

In recent years his research has focused on the fact that about a billion people or three-quarters of the poor live in middle-income countries which he termed the “new bottom billion”. This finding raised questions about the distributional patterns of economic growth, the divorce of much foreign aid from world poverty and about the dominant country analytical categories. It has contributed to a changed understanding of the geographical distribution of global poverty. His work seeks to challenge the orthodox view that absolute poverty is necessarily minimal or residual at higher levels of per capita income; rather, that absolute poverty is a distributional outcome of specific patterns of economic development and welfare regimes.

Together with Alex Cobham he popularized the Palma ratio as a new measure of income or consumption inequality.

His work on poverty in middle-income countries has been discussed in media outlets such as The Economist, The Guardian and the Voice of America. His work on measuring inequality and the Palma Ratio has been discussed by BBC News and the Washington Post.

Selected Books

  • Sumner, A. (2016) Global poverty: Deprivation, distribution and development. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198703525.
  • Glennie, J. and Sumner, A. (2016) Growth, poverty and foreign aid. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan ISBN 978-1-137-57272-1.
  • Sumner, A. and Mallet, R. (2012) The Future of Foreign Aid, Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 9781137298874.
  • Sumner, A. and Tiwari, M. (2009) After 2015: International Development Policy at a Crossroads, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781403987723.
  • Sumner A. and Tribe, M. (2008) International Development Studies: Theory and Methods in Research and Practice, London: Sage. ISBN 9781849206396.
  • Selected Articles

  • Sumner, A. (2016) Why are some people poor? European Journal of Development Research 28: 130-142
  • Cobham, A., Schlogl, L., and Sumner, A. (2016) Inequality and the Tails: the Palma Proposition and Ratio. Global Policy 7(1): 201-211.
  • Edward, P. and Sumner, A. (2014) ‘Estimating the scale and geography of global poverty now and in the future: How much difference do method and assumptions make?’, World Development 58: 67-82.
  • Sumner, A. (2013) ‘Poverty, Politics and Aid: Is a Reframing of Global Poverty Approaching?’ Third World Quarterly, 34.3: 357-377
  • Sumner, A. (2012) ‘Where do the Poor Live?’, World Development. 40.5: 865–877
  • Kanbur, R. and Sumner, A. (2012) ‘Poor Countries or Poor People? Development Assistance and the New Geography of Global Poverty’, Journal of International Development, 24.6: 686-695
  • References

    Andy Sumner Wikipedia

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