This introduction presents a selection of articles from the International Labour Review that illustrate how research on poverty and inequality has evolved over the past century. Receiving only occasional attention in the early decades of the journal’s history, these topics acquired more prominence in articles published from the 1970s onwards, especially in relation to research carried out under the ILO’s World Employment Programme. In the 1990s, articles looked into concepts of poverty and social exclusion and the impact of economic reform. More recent publications have treated economic and social inequality within wider analyses of growth and development. Scope remains for closer integration of different approaches to poverty and inequality.