Extending MIS worldwide

Matt Padley and Abigail Davis - Social Sciences and Humanities

Matt Padley and Abigail Davis have been working with partners in Mexico and Singapore to adapt and apply the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) within these two very different countries.

Pioneered by the Centre for Research in Social Policy, MIS establishes the income people agree is needed for a minimum socially acceptable standard of living.

This is affected by differences in cultural and societal norms, as well as levels of state provision of key services, including healthcare, childcare and education. Consequently, what is needed to have MIS varies across countries.

This collaboration initially investigated the needs of older people, in the context of an increasingly ageing society. A further study explores the needs of working-age adults – with and without children. It will support an evidence-based review of policy and practice, particularly about the respective roles of the state and families in ensuring MIS is met for all.

This partnership has focused on establishing and describing the minimum needs – or la vida digna – of urban households with children. It is the first study of its kind in Mexico, and is due to be published in July. There are plans to expand the research to establish the needs of people living in rural areas.

Working with colleagues who understand the cultural, social and political context specific to the country in which they live has resulted in appropriate adaptions to the MIS approach – resulting in stronger, more effective research.



  • National University of Singapore
  • Nanyang Technological University
  • Duke-NUS Medical School


  • Centro de Estudios Espinosa Yglesias
  • The MIS Mexico research has been developed in close partnership with Laura Valadez-Martinez, Social and Policy Studies