There is little direct evidence on the added value of an inclusive societies approach for increasing the effectiveness of poverty reduction efforts. The state of research in this area is predominantly theoretical and not empirical, although there is a clear normative consensus that poverty reduction and sustained economic growth is contingent upon the development of economically, socially and politically inclusive societies.
The evidence suggests that an inclusive societies approach may contribute to poverty reduction efforts through the development of a stable, cohesive society defined by high levels of trust and participation. However, the evidence also suggests that the notion of inclusion and the means of achieving it requires interrogation:
- Inclusive economic institutions have a significant effect on per capita incomes and institutional effects are largely responsible for the incomes of countries
- A socially inclusive society, defined by high levels of trust and civic cooperation engenders increased participation and social cohesion
- Political inclusion, through power-sharing agreements, is highly correlated with the consolidation of peace. Conversely, political exclusion plays the decisive role in the recurrence of conflict
- An ‘underlying moral meta-narrative’ exists which assumes that social inclusion, as opposed to social exclusion, is inherently good and desirable. This often ignores the way in which the terms of inclusion can be problematic, disempowering or inequitable.