The research aims to improve policy design and practice in improving the lives of the poor and vulnerable sections of society in a sustainable manner. This involves identifying important overarching questions as well as looking at the actual micro-level (i.e. household or individual level) evidence on the conduct of policy and the nature of outcomes it has achieved, with appropriate analysis of how policy effectiveness may be improved. One leg of the research studies the Old Poor Laws in England, the success of which has been measured in terms of favourable demographic outcomes, such as relatively low levels of childhood mortality, and links this in with recent theoretical research in development economics on the micro-foundations of pro-poor growth. We also review the historical and economics literature on the relation of social expenditure and inequality. Particular attention is paid to India and South Africa. This end report covers: project background and objectives; methods, findings and dissemination of these findings.