One relatively straightforward way in which academics could have a positive impact on global poverty is by putting people in a position to make better decisions about issues relevant to such poverty. Academics could do this by conducting appropriate kinds of research on those issues, and sharing what they have learned in accessible ways.
But aren't academics already doing this? In the case of many of those issues, I think the appropriate answer would be “Yes, to some extent, but they could do so much better.” In this article, I first discuss the academic research relevant to one important decision about an issue concerning global poverty. I argue that this research has been seriously deficient both in terms of quality and of quantity. Building on this discussion, I then formulate two questions that can be applied to any such decision, answers to which would indicate the quality of the input academics are currently providing. In cases where that input is deficient, and the decision in question an important one, I suggest that academics organise themselves in ways that will improve that input. I finish by briefly discussing how Academics Stand Against Poverty might help them do so.