A Framework for a Push/Pull Approach to Inclusive Market Systems Development

  • Publication Date: January 29, 2015
  • Authors: Anna Garloch
  • Organizations: ACDI/VOCA
  • Document types: Evidence or Research, Primer or Brief
  • Donor Type: Non-US Government Agency

One inclusive markets approach that has emerged in recent years and garnered an increasing level of attention has become known as the push/pull approach. The name draws from the business world and has been adapted for the international development arena, integrating learning from graduation models, vulnerable livelihoods programming, behavior change psychology, business development services (BDS) market development, and inclusive market systems. A push/pull approach aims to bring more structure to poverty reduction work at both ends of the economic spectrum through a more interactive, coordinated, market-led process of gradual change at both the household and systems levels. It is one of many approaches that can support pathways out of poverty for the extreme poor.

As it is an emerging area with varying definitions and applications, the objective of this brief paper is to:

  • provide a common understanding of push/pull within an economic development sphere;
  • present eight key features that characterize a push/pull approach;
  • share field experiences from programs translating theory into practice; and
  • discuss some of the challenges that exist in implementation.