Market-Based Solutions for Poverty Alleviation

Despite considerable efforts over the last decades, poverty has persisted both in the United States and globally.  Over 2 billion people continue to survive on less than $2 per day.  Market-based approaches to poverty alleviation continue to receive increased attention: the scale of the problem requires scalable solutions.  Such approaches are rooted in the philosophy that individuals, given the necessary tools, can be empowered to improve their own lives. Being poor does not eliminate commerce and market processes.  Virtually all poor households trade cash or labor to meet basic needs.  Market-based approaches focus on people as consumers and producers while creating solutions to make markets more efficient and competitive.

Business models have emerged in recent years which empower the poor as economic actors, supporting self-sufficiency and livelihood improvement while reducing dependence on philanthropy.  This talk will focus on these market-based approaches to poverty alleviation, using business model examples within our country and from around the world.

Video coming soon!

Dr. Eva Szalkai Csaky joined SMU in June 2014 as the Director of the Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity.  She is responsible for developing projects and initiatives to benefit the poor, including disadvantaged communities in the United States.  Previously, Eva enjoyed a 15-year career at the World Bank Group.  Within its private sector arm, she held various positions focusing on market-based solutions for environmental and social problems, leading initiatives in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy and clean water access, and farmer and small enterprise productivity.

Dr. Csaky received her Bachelor of Science in Finance and Accounting from Budapest Business School, Hungary; Master of Science in Finance from The George Washington University, Washington, DC; Master of Arts in Public Policy from Duke University, Sanford School of Public Policy, Durham, North Carolina; and her Ph.D. in Public Policy, Globalization and Development from Duke University.

To learn more about Dr. Csaky's research and to get involved, contact her at