The Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) is a research project that was initiated in 1980. It is 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.
The LSMS objectives are to:
A more recent initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) project, was launched in 2009. The project supports governments in Sub-Saharan African countries to generate nationally representative, household panel data with a strong focus on agriculture and rural development. The objective of this program is to improve the understanding of development in Africa, particularly agriculture and linkages between farm and non-farm activities.