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About LSMS

The Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) and the Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) were established by the Development Research Group (DECRG) to explore ways of improving the type and quality of household data collected by statistical offices in developing countries. The goal is to foster increased use of household data as a basis for policy decisionmaking.

The Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) is a research project that was initiated in 1980 as a response to a perceived need for policy relevant data that would allow policy makers to move beyond simply measuring rates of unemployment, poverty and health care use, for example, to understanding the determinants of these observed social sector outcomes.  The program is designed to assist policy makers in their efforts to identify how policies could be designed and improved to positively affect outcomes in health, education, economic activities, housing and utilities, etc.


  • improve the quality of household survey data
  • increase the capacity of statistical institutes to perform household surveys
  • improve the ability of statistical institutes to analyze household survey data for policy needs
  • provide policy makers with data that can be used to understand the determinants of observed social and economic outcomes

For a detailed history of the early years of LSMS, read M. Grosh and P. Glewwe, A Guide to Living Standards Measurement Study Surveys and Their Data Sets, LSMS Working Paper #120, The World Bank, 1995.

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