Our research is centrally concerned with understanding the causes and drivers of poverty in Southern Africa. These issues cannot be understood without engaging with the structural aspects of poverty, and the linkages between the perpetuation of poverty and the nature and direction of economic growth. Our research is aimed at promoting inclusive approaches towards growth, Our research on poverty and inequality emphasises the importance of understanding the factors that shape the economic agency of poor people, their livelihood activities and strategies, and how these are embedded in the broader political economy of Southern Africa. Specific areas that our research covers include: defining and measuring poverty and inequality, approaches to addressing vulnerability, social protection and social grants, and 'informal sector' self-employment.
PLAAS situates research on poverty, inequality and vulnerability in a broader commitment to ‘public sociology’. It aims to strike a balance between scholarly publication, policy advice to government and donor agencies, and intervention in public debates and public education about the causes and dynamics of poverty.