As part of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s initiative to enhance research and policy communication in population, reproductive health, and economic development, the foundation has partnered with institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway, the Netherlands, France, and Africa to strengthen evidence on how population and reproductive health affect economic outcomes in low- and middle-income countries. Under this population and poverty (PopPov) initiative, Hewlett partners—the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), the Research Council of Norway (RCN), WOTRO Science for Global Development, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), l’Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), l’Agence française de développement (AFD), Institute for International Education (IIE), and the World Bank—have awarded research funding to more than 46 principal investigators and 49 Ph.D. candidates as of October 2012.
The Hewlett-supported program of research activities has addressed elements of the research agenda outlined by an expert working group convened by the Center for Global Development. The PopPov research agenda prioritizes policy-relevant research questions that address the effect of reproductive health on the economic growth of countries and on the well-being of individuals and households. Researchers have been encouraged to use macrolevel analyses to examine the pathways through which country-level shifts in demographic trends affect economic development, including the direct effect of population growth, trends in components of growth (fertility and mortality), and how this growth affects intermediate factors such as women’s labor force participation and asset accumulation. Regarding outcomes for individuals and households, the PopPov research agenda encourages microlevel analyses and places considerable emphasis on improved reproductive health as a potential pathway to poverty reduction.