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Professor Andy Sumner

Biographical details

Andy Sumner is a Professor of International Development in the Department of International Development at King’s College London. He is Director of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Global Challenges Strategic Research Network on Global Poverty and Inequality Dynamics.

He has twenty years’ international research experience using both qualitative and quantitative methods and has published extensively, including more than ten books and fifty journal papers and book chapters. 

His most recent books are Global Poverty (2016, Oxford University Press) and Development and Distribution (2018, Oxford University Press).

He was appointed at King’s in 2012 and was a founding Co-Director of the King’s International Development Institute which became the Department of International Development.

He is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College and has also held various roles in academic networks, including as a Vice President of, and UK representative to, the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) from 2008 to 2014, and as a Council Member of the Development Studies Association, UK and Ireland, from 2000 to 2014.

He holds associate positions at Oxford University; the Center for Global Development, Washington DC; the United Nations University, WIDER, Helsinki; and the Centre for Economics and Development Studies, Padjadjaran University, Indonesia.

His research has been cited by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), by international development agencies such as the World Bank and UN agencies, and by media. He has also been asked to contribute expertise to various policy-related processes such as the Select Committees of the House of Commons, the UN International Panel on Climate Change, and a Lancet Poverty Commission, and he has been listed in US magazine Foreign Policy’s ‘Top 100 Global Thinkers’, and in the Huffington Post’s ‘Most Influential Voices’.




Research interests

Andy Sumner’s research is at the interface of international development studies and heterodox development economics. His area of expertise is poverty, inequality and ‘inclusive growth’ in middle-income developing countries.

He has pursued his research at two scales: first, in the analysis of global poverty and global inequality; second, in the analysis of poverty and inequality in the Southeast Asia region and Indonesia in particular. 

He is well known for challenging prevailing assumptions about global poverty and theorising about the paradox of the persistence of global poverty alongside dramatic and sustained economic growth. 


Research Projects

ESRC Global Challenges Research Network on Global Poverty and Inequality Dynamics


List of publications


Research books: authored and co-authored

  1. Schlogl, L. and Sumner, A. (2020) Disrupted Development and the Future of Inequality. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 
  2. Edward, P. and Sumner, A. (2019) The End of Poverty. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 
  3. Sumner, A. (2018) Development and Distribution: Structural Change in Southeast Asia. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 240 pages;ISBN: 9780198792369
  4. Sumner, A. (2016) Global Poverty: Deprivation, Distribution, and Development Since the Cold War. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 208 Pages; ISBN: 9780198703525
  5. Glennie, J. and Sumner, A. (2016) Aid, Growth and Poverty. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. XIII, 82 pages; ISBN: 9781137572721
  6. Sumner, A. and Mallet, R. (2012) The Future of Foreign Aid: Development Cooperation and the New Geography of Global Poverty. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. XII, 101 pages; ISBN: 9781137298881
  7. Jones, N. and Sumner, A. (2011) Child Poverty, Evidence and Policy. Bristol: Policy Press. 264 pages; ISBN:9781847424457
  8. Sumner, A. and Tiwari, M. (2009) After 2015: International Development Policy at a Crossroads. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. XII, 215 pages; ISBN: 9780230234680

 Research books: edited volumes

  1. Langford, M., Sumner, A. and Yamin, A. (eds) (2013) The Millennium Development Goals and Human Rights. New York: Cambridge University Press. 576 pages; ISBN: 9781107515246
  2. Rugraff, E., Sánchez, D. and Sumner, A. (eds) (2008) Transnational Corporations and Development Policy: Critical Perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 321 pages; ISBN: 9780230228412

 Teaching textbooks

  1. Tribe, M., Nixson, F. and Sumner, A. (2010) Economics and Development Studies. London: Routledge. 312 pages; ISBN: 9780415450386
  2. Sumner, A. and Tribe, M. (2008) International Development Studies: Theories and Methods in Research and Practice. London: Sage. 192 pages; ISBN: 9781412929455

Journal articles (peer reviewed)

  1. Robles-Aguilar, G. and Sumner, A. (2020) Who are the World's Poor? World Development.
  2. Sumner, A. (2019) ‘Global Poverty and Inequality: Change and Continuity in Late Development’. Development and Change.
  3. Edward, P. and Sumner, A. (2018) ‘Global Poverty and Inequality: Are the Revised Estimates Open to an Alternative Interpretation?’. Third World Quarterly 39.3: 487-509. DOI:10.1080/01436597.2017.1401461
  4. Wietzke, B. and Sumner, A. (2018) ‘The Developing World’s “New Middle Classes”: Implications for Political Research’. Perspectives on Politics16.1; 127-140. DOI: 10.1017/S1537592717003358
  5. Cobham, A., Davis, W., Ibrahim, G. and Sumner, A. (2017) ‘Hidden Inequality: How Much Difference Would Adjustment for Illicit Financial Flows Make to National Income Distributions?’. Journal of Globalization and Development 7.1. DOI: 10.1515/jgd-2016-0022
  6. Hoy, C. and Sumner, A. (2016) ‘Global Poverty and Inequality: Is There New Capacity for Redistribution in Developing Countries?’. Journal of Globalization and Development 7.1: 117–57. DOI: 10.1515/jgd-2016-0021
  7. Sumner, A. (2016) ‘Why Are Some People Poor?’. European Journal of Development Research 28.2: 130–42. DOI: 10.1057/ejdr.2016.2
  8. Cobham, A., Schlögl, L. and Sumner, A. (2016) ‘Inequality and the Tails: The Palma Proposition and Ratio’. Global Policy 7.1: 201–11. DOI: 10.1111/1758-5899.12320
  9. Yusuf, A. and Sumner, A. (2015) ‘Growth, Poverty and Inequality under Jokowi’. Bulletin of Indonesian Economics Studies 51.3: 323–48. DOI: 10.1080/00074918.2015.1110685
  10. Sumner, A. and Glennie, J. (2015) ‘Growth, Poverty and Development Assistance’. Global Policy 6.3: 201–11. DOI: 10.1111/1758-5899.12251
  11. Alkire, S., Roche, J., Seth, S. and Sumner, A. (2015) ‘Identifying the Poorest People and Groups: Strategies Using the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index’. Journal of International Development 27.3: 362–87. DOI: 10.1002/jid.3083
  12. 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. DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2013.12.009
  13. Sumner, A. and Edward, P. (2014) ‘Assessing Poverty Trends in Indonesia by International Poverty Lines’. Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies 50.2: 207–25. DOI: 10.1080/00074918.2014.938404
  14. Cobham, A. and Sumner, A. (2014) ‘Is Inequality all about the Tails? The Palma Measure of Income Inequality’. Significance 11.1: 10–13. DOI: 10.1111/j.1740-9713.2014.00718.x
  15. Greenstein, J., Gentilini, U. and Sumner, A. (2014) ‘National or International Poverty Lines or Both? Setting Goals for Income Poverty after 2015’. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities 15.2: 132–46. DOI: 10.1080/19452829.2014.899565
  16. Yusuf, A., Sumner, A. and Rum, I. (2014) ‘Twenty Years of Expenditure Inequality in Indonesia, 1993–2013’. Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies 50.2: 243–54. DOI: 10.1080/00074918.2014.939937
  17. Vázquez, S. and Sumner, A. (2013) ‘Revisiting the Meaning of Development: A Multidimensional Taxonomy of Developing Countries’. Journal of Development Studies 49.12: 1728–45. DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2013.822071
  18. Sumner, A. (2013) ‘Poverty, Politics and Aid: Is a Reframing of Global Poverty Approaching?’. Third World Quarterly 34.3: 357–77. DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2013.784593
  19. Sumner, A. and Mallet, R. (2013) ‘Capturing Multidimensionality: What Does a Human Wellbeing Conceptual Framework Add to the Analysis of Vulnerability?’. Social Indicators Research 113.2: 671–90. DOI: 10.1007/s11205-013-0295-x
  20. Glassman, A., Duran, D. and Sumner, A. (2013) ‘Global Health and the New Bottom Billion: What do Shifts in Global Poverty and Disease Burden Mean for Donor Agencies?’. Global Policy 4.1: 1–14. DOI: 10.1111/j.1758-5899.2012.00176.x
  21. Sumner, A. (2012) ‘Where Do The Poor Live?’. World Development 40.5: 865–77. DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2011.09.007
  22. Sumner, A. (2012) ‘Poverty, Vulnerability and Class: The Expanding Non-Polar Groups and Development’. Public Administration and Development 32.4–5: 444–54. DOI: https: 10.1002/pad.1627
  23. 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: 686–95. DOI: 10.1002/jid.2861
  24. Sumner, A. (2011) ‘The Global Economic Crisis and Beyond: What Possible Future(s) for Development Studies?’. European Journal of Development Research 23.1: 43–58. DOI: 10.1057/ejdr.2010.56
  25. Sumner, A. and Tribe, M. (2011) ‘Morals, Ethics and Economics: The Case for Aid in Fiscally Constrained Times’. Journal of International Development 23.6: 782–801. DOI: 10.1002/jid.1810
  26. Sumner, A. (2010) ‘Child Poverty, Well-Being and Agency: What does a “3-D Well-Being” Approach Contribute?’. Journal of International Development 22.8: 1064–75. DOI: 10.1002/jid.1746
  27. Sumner, A. and Tiwari, M. (2009) ‘After 2015: What are the Ingredients of an “MDG-Plus” Agenda for Poverty Reduction?’. Journal of International Development 21.6: 834–43. DOI: 10.1002/jid.1621
  28. Sumner, A. and Harpham T. (2008) ‘The Market for “Evidence” in Policy Processes: The Case of Child Health Policy in Andhra Pradesh, India and Viet Nam’. European Journal of Development Research 20.4: 712–32. DOI: 10.1080/09578810802493358
  29. Sumner, A. and Tribe, M. (2008) ‘What could Development Studies be?’. Development in Practice 18.6: 755–66. DOI: 10.1080/09614520802386603
  30. Sumner, A. and Tribe, M. (2008) ‘Development Studies and Cross-Disciplinarity’. Journal of International Development 20.6: 751–67. DOI: 10.1002/jid.1494
  31. Jones, N. and Sumner, A. (2008) ‘The Politics of Poverty Policy: Are Pro-Poor Policy Processes Expert-Led or Citizen-Led?’. International Development and Planning Review 30.4: 359–76. DOI: 10.1007/s11205-008-9311-y
  32. Jones, N. and Sumner, A. (2008) ‘Does Mixed Methods Research Matter to Understanding Childhood Well-Being?’. Social Indicators Research 90.1: 33–50. DOI: 10.1007/s11205-008-9311-y
  33. Sumner, A. (2007) ‘Meaning Versus Measurement: Why Do “Economic” Indicators of Poverty Still Predominate?’. Development in Practice 17.1: 4–13. DOI: 10.1080/09614520601092485
  34. Sumner, A. (2006) ‘In Search of the Post-Washington (Dis)Consensus: The “Missing” Content of PRSPs’. Third World Quarterly 27.8: 1401–12. DOI: 10.1080/01436590601027263
  35. Sumner, A. (2006) ‘What is Development Studies?’. Development in Practice 16.6: 644–50. DOI: 10.1080/09614520600958363
  36. Sumner, A. and Tiwari, M. (2005) ‘Poverty and Economic Policy: What Happens When Researchers Disagree?’. Journal of International Development 17.6: 791–801. DOI: 10.1002/jid.1241
  37. Sumner, A. (2004) ‘Why are we Still Arguing about Globalization?’. Journal of International Development 16.7: 1015–22. DOI: 10.1002/jid.1150

Journal special issues edited

  1. Melamed, C. and Sumner, A. (2010) The MDGs and beyond: Pro-poor policy in a changing world. IDS Bulletin 41.1. DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2010.00097.x
  2. Thomas, A., Sumner, A. and Tribe, M. (2009) Development's invisible hands.Journal of International Development 21.6. DOI: 10.1002/jid.1608
  3. McCulloch, N. and Sumner, A. (2009) Policy responses to the global financial crisis. IDS Bulletin 40.5. 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2009.00069.x
  4. Waldman, L., Sumner, A. and Leach, M. (2008) Technology, rural dynamics and pro-poor development. European Journal of Development Research 20.3. DOI: 10.1080/09578810802273560
  5. Tribe, M. and Sumner, A. (2006) Development Economics at a crossroads? Journal of International Development 18.7. DOI: 10.1002/jid.1338

Book chapters

  1. Edward, P. and Sumner, A. (2018) Global inequality and global poverty since the Cold War. In: van Bergeijk, P. and van der Hoeven, R. (eds) Sustainable Development Goals and Income Inequality. London: Edward Elgar, pp. 74-98. ISBN: 9781788110273
  2. Alonso, J., Glennie, J. and Sumner A. (2016) Recipients and contributors: The dual role of middle-income countries. In: Grugel, J. and Hammett, D. (eds) Palgrave Handbook of International Development.Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 315-332. ISBN: 9781137427243
  3. Glassman, A., Duran, D. and Sumner, A. (2014) Global health and the new bottom billion: What do shifts in global poverty and disease burden mean for GAVI and the global fund? In: Brennan, K. (ed.) Making Global Institutions Work. London: Routledge, pp. 108-128. ISBN: 9781138289475
  4. Sumner, A. and Tiwari, M. (2013) What issues will (re)define the post-2015 debate? In: Langford, M., Sumner, A. and Yamin, A. (eds) The Millennium Development Goals and Human Rights. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 363-38. ISBN: 9781139410892
  5. Langford, M., Sumner, A. and Yamin, A. (2013) Introduction: Situating the debate. In: Langford, M., Sumner, A. and Yamin, A. (eds) The Millennium Development Goals and Human Rights. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-42. ISBN: 9781139410892
  6. Langford, M., Sumner, A. and Yamin, A. (2013) Back to the future: Reconciling paradigms or development as usual? In: Langford, M., Sumner, A. and Yamin, A. (eds) The Millennium Development Goals and Human Rights. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 539-558. ISBN: 9781139410892
  7. Carbonnier, G. and Sumner, A. (2012) Reframing Aid in a world where the poor live in emerging economies. In: Carbonnier, G. (ed.) International Development Policy: Aid, Emerging Economies and Global Policies.Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 3-18. ISBN: 9781137003577
  8. Sumner, A. (2011) The child poverty impacts and public budgets. In: Jones, N. and Stewart, D. (eds) Children in Crisis. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 187-205. ISBN: 9780230313972
  9. Sumner, A. (2009) Poverty. In: Peil, J. (ed.) Handbook of Economics and Ethics. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, pp. 391-399. ISBN: 9781848446953
  10. Sumner, A. (2007) Economic well-being and non-economic well-being. In: McGillivray, M. and Clarke, M. (eds) Understanding Human Well-being. Tokyo: United Nations University Press, pp. 54-73. ISBN: 9789280811308  

Non-peer review journal articles listed on Scopus

  1. McGregor, J.A. and Sumner, A. (2010) Beyond business as usual: What might 3-D wellbeing contribute to MDG momentum? IDS Bulletin 41.1: 104-112.
  2. Melamed, C. and Sumner, A. (2010) The MDGs and beyond: Pro-poor policy in a changing world. IDS Bulletin 41.1: 1-6.
  3. Sumner, A., Masset, E. and Mulmi, R. (2010) Does research reduce poverty? IDS Bulletin 41.6: 124-131.
  4. Thomas, A., Sumner, A. and Tribe, M. (2009) Development's invisible hands.Journal of International Development 21.6: 723-731
  5. McCulloch, N. and Sumner, A. (2009) Will the global financial crisis change the development paradigm? IDS Bulletin 40.5: 101-108
  6. Sumner, A. and Wolcott, S. (2009) What is the likely poverty impact of the global financial crisis? IDS Bulletin 40.5: 47-58.
  7. Sumner, A., Haddad, L. and Climent, L.G. (2009) Rethinking intergenerational transmission(s): Does a wellbeing lens help? IDS Bulletin 40.1: 22-40
  8. Leach, M., Sumner, A. and Waldman, L. (2008) Discourses, dynamics and disquiet. European Journal of Development Research 20.3: 727-738
  9. Sumner, A. (2007) What are the ethics of development studies? IDS Bulletin 38.2: 59-68.


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