Global poverty is one of the primary problems facing the world. The 2010 UN Human Development Report, being released on November 4, estimates that 1.7 billion people in 104 developing countries live in multidimensional poverty, one-third of the population in these countries. Poverty alleviation is a central tenet of global development goals such as the global Millenium Campaign, supported by 189 countries. The aim of this campaign is to halve the proportion of people living on less than $1 per day by 2015.
Students will discover how incentives, resources, and social and political institutions influence the incidence of poverty across and within countries. The minor will explore the relationships between poverty and determinants of human welfare such as hunger, health, education and environmental quality.
Economic growth, globalization, and changes in technology and institutions play important roles in the evolution of poverty over time. Students will learn about the mechanisms behind poverty and how our understanding of these mechanisms has changed. A cross-cultural awareness of poverty will be developed along with an appreciation of how differences in social, cultural and institutional factors impact the design of poverty alleviation programs and their success. Students will assess the effectiveness of both large and small-scale public policies including foreign aid, domestic policies, market reforms and other efforts. They will explore how our knowledge of poverty alleviation has progressed. Students will have an opportunity to become more actively involved in the study of global poverty in a practical way. The overall goal of the minor is to empower students to become more globally engaged citizens.