Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

The Economics of Poverty: History, Measurement, and Policy

2/2/16

There are fewer people living in extreme poverty in the world today than 30 years ago. While that is an achievement, continuing progress for poor people is far from assured. Inequalities in access to key resources threaten to stall growth and poverty reduction in many places. The world’s poorest have made only a small absolute gain over those 30 years. Progress has been slow against relative poverty, judged by the standards of the country and time one lives in. And a great many people in the world’s emerging middle class remain vulnerable to falling back into poverty.

In his new book, Martin Ravallion reviews past and present debates on poverty, spanning both rich and poor countries. The book provides an accessible new synthesis of current economic thinking on key questions: How is poverty measured? How much poverty is there? Why does poverty exist and is it inevitable? What can be done to reduce poverty? Can it even be eliminated? The book does not assume that readers know economics already. Those new to the subject get a lot of help along the way in understanding its concepts and methods. Economics lives through its relevance to real-world problems, and here the problem of poverty is both the central focus and a vehicle for learning.

Featuring:

Martin Ravallion
Edmond D. Villani Chair of Economics, Georgetown University and Non-Resident Fellow, Center for Global Development

Discussant:

Francisco H. G. Ferreira 
Senior Adviser, Development Research Group, World Bank

Host:

Michael Clemens
Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development