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WeekTopicStudents
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Week 2Kylan Wright, Michelle Covarrubias Ilana Mindiola
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Oct 3 (Monday)Vulnerability and Risk I: Definitions, Basic Strategies and the Role of Assets. Both poverty and inequality are dynamic, and the poor suffer not only from a current deprivation of income and assets but from a high degree of risk and vulnerability to destititution. What risks do the poor face, how do they cope with them, and what might be done to mitigate risk? Increasing central to this discussion is a growing focus not only income but assets.
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Oct 5 (Wed)Vulnerablity and Risk II: The New Focus on the Finances of the Poor One of the most important developments in thinking about the poor is the recognition that they have complex finances, as the Collins video suggests. This raises the question of how to expand banking, insurance and other financial services to the poor.
Joanna Chauez,
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Week 3
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October 10 (Monday)
Convergence and Divergence. We begin this module by considering the distribution of income across the whole world. Are the gaps between rich and poor countries being narrowed (convergence) or are they widening (divergence)? What does the global distribution of income look like—and what do we mean by it?Jack Rupo, Kamel Bundogji
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October 12 (Wednesday)
Sources and Consequences of Economic Growth.Growth is crucial for poverty alleviation; slowed growth and crises have adverse effects on poverty. This suggests that long-run growth performance is crucial for the distribution of world poverty, raising the question of why some countries grew rapidly while others have seen slow and erratic growth. One dominant explanation is that poor countries are caught in “poverty traps.” Focusing on Paul Collier’s Bottom Billion,we consider several of these possible poverty traps.Chen-Shiuan Keng , Roxanne Keramati, Brooke Oshita, Maggie Sean, Vanessa Tse
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Week 4
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October 17 (Monday)
Do Poverty Traps Really Exist?No sooner had Collier’s book appeared than Africa appeared to be on the move, growing rapidly during the boom decade of the 2000s and managing to fare reasonably well in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-8. Does the African experience suggest that the “poverty traps” approach is too pessimistic, indeed perhaps even a caricature?Chris Howard, Alli Pyle, Joanna Chavez, Vennisia Mo, Sunny Sun, Aaron Jung
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Jessica
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Oct 19 (Wednesday)
What Can the Government Do?It is clear that the government plays a critical role in poverty reduction, whether through policy reform, through the budget and spending, and through more targeted interventions. We begin with a consideration of some of the tools the government might use to alleviate poverty.Chris Howard, Crystal Inacay, Kamel Bundogji, Cassey Lau, David Olivares, Brooke Oshita, Aileen Liang, Ryan Brummelen
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Week 5
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Oct 24 (Monday)What Does the Government Do? Once we start to talk about governments, we have to consider politics as well: not what the government should do, but whether it has political incentives and capabilities to do it. These concerns have grown in recent years, and crystallized around the concept of “governance.” However, governance means many things, from rule of law to participation, civil society, controlling corruption and even democracy itself. An important question is what role if any outside actors play in advancing a “governance” agenda.Jack Rupe, Felicia Phan, Divya Desale, Anahit Topchyan, Diana Ani Nalbandian, Grecia Araujo,
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October 26 (Wednesday).
A Case Study in Growth and Public Policy: The Chinese Case(guest lecture by Prof. Barry Naughton, Graduate School of Global Policy and Strategy). A significant share of the decline in all world poverty over the last two decades is the result of developments in two countries: China and India. The decline in poverty was particularly rapid in China, even as inequality has been rising. How do we explain the Chinese case?Calvin Nguyen, Ji Sung Park, Ju-Yi Hsia, Vanessa Tse, Kaylee Lo, Xiangdi Zhang, Hyesoo Kim
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MIDTERM
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Week 6
Calvin Nguyen, Ju-Yi Hsia, Vanessa Tse, Kaylee Lo, Xiangdi Zhang, Hyesoo Kim
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October 31 (Monday)
Health and Poverty 1: Reducing Mortality among Rich and Poor.Health is probably the most important asset a poor person—or any person “owns.” Improvements in health have been extraordinary in the post-war period, but rich and poor are still subject to very different risks: the world’s rich die of chronic diseases, the poor of communicable ones that are in principle quite easily preventable: HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, childhood infectious diseases (many of which are preventable by vaccination), and maternal and perinatal conditions. We address health in two steps, looking first at the sources of mortality and then at interventions to improve health. Ivy Lin, XUE BAI, Melissa Leyva, Roxanne Keramati,
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November 2 (Wednesday)
Health and Poverty 2: Designing Health Interventions.Addressing communicable diseases would save millions of lives a year. Why hasn’t it happened? What are the roles of the public, private and NGO sectors in delivering services that affect health? Should the poor pay for social services? In particular, we pay attention to the all-important issue of incentives. Should the poor be charged for services, or should they provided free of charge? What are the arguments pro and con?Crystal Inacay,
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Week 7
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Nov 7 (Monday)Education.Education has been touted as a major input to growth, and substantial differences exist across countries. Is the problem that there is not enough education? Or is it that education can only have positive effects if coupled with incentives that increase the rate of return to educational investment? The readings will consider a particularly important component of this problem: educating girls.Katherine Young, Victoria Rehn , Calvin Nguyen, Ivy Lin, Michelle Covarrubias, Diana Ani Nalbandian, Anahit Topchyan,XUE BAI, Heidy Cassandra Puertas, Rebekah Ferranti, Yao Zheng, Sunny Sun , Yue Hu, Aaron Jung,
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Jessica
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November 9 (Wed)Development in Environmental Context: Challenges in the Agricultural Sector.(Guest lecture by Prof. Jennifer Burney, Gaduate School of Global Policy and Strategy).The share of the world’s population working in agriculture is declining steadily. But it still accounts for just under 50% and is much higher in many developing countries, in some cases over 80%. This population is highly vulnerable not only to routine variability in the weather and rainfall, but to longer-term shifts associated with climate change. What is the relationship between climate change and agriculture? Who is most vulnerable? And how can policy and technology work to reduce risks and bolster rural incomes?Josie McCoy, Linfeng Gao, Justice Duerksen
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Week 8
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Nov 14 (Mon)The Urbanization of Poverty.Although most of the world’s extreme poverty remains in rural areas, the extent and rapidity of urbanization has made urban poverty an important and growing phenomenon. This session looks at two faces of urban life: the various social problems that arise out of rapid urban growth, including slums and violence; and the promise—and perils--of the informal sector. We do this in part through the lens of Rio de Janeiro, looking at studies done over a fifteen year time period on the problems facing the city’s favelas.Chris Howard, Adeline Chiang, Crystal Inacay, Kamel Bundogji, Cassey Lau, David Olivares,  Brooke Oshita, Aileen Liang, Ryan Brummelen
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Nov 16 (Wed)Private Sector Solutions to Poverty and the Role of Technology. How can we encourage private sector activity that reduces poverty, whether by creating small business (for example, through microfinance) or encouraging more established companies to serve the poor? What role can technological innovation and diffusion play in anti-poverty efforts?Katherine Young, Brandon Dizon, Kyle Dunning, Jacky Huynh
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Week 9
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Nov 21 (Mon)The Debate About Aid.Countries give aid for a multiplicity of motives that include, but are by no means limited to, fostering economic growth and poverty reduction. Similarly, governments seek aid for a variety of purposes, starting with the benefits for retaining political power. These incentives give rise to complex aid dynamics, including efforts to impose conditionality on aid—and for countries to avoid it. In this session we examine the debate over aid, including arguments by critics that it should be dramatically reduced. Cody Piper, Grecia Araujo, Ilana Mindiola, Divya Desale, Felicia Phan, Julian Del Castillo
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The current obession of redesigning everything
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Nov 23 (Wed)Humanitarian Intervention: Famines and Food Shortages. Famines are complex events, often attributed to “natural” causes such as bad weather or Malthusian ones such as overpopulation. Amartya Sen has shown that these explanations are flawed and that famines are almost always the result of political failures. These very failures, however, can create daunting problems for external factors seeking to alleviate hunger. The problems are illustrated with reference to the North Korean famine. Kylah Wright, Diego Villarreal-Alejandre, Cassey Lau, Maggie Sean, seoungjae baek, Madiha Haque, Jordan Coursey, Sumeet Vij
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Week 10
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Nov 28 (Mon)Poverty and War: Civil Conflict, Displacement and Poverty.A major cause of displacement, refugees, poverty and even the spread of disease and famine is the incidence of civil war. Many of the poorest regions in the world are precisely those that have been affected by such conflict, particularly where it is protracted. These events also involve the external policy community in complex humanitarian interventions. We will consider the general issues, and the recurring wars of central Africa, including particularly the Second Congo War or Great War of Africa (that killed as many as 5 million people and which few Americans even know about) and current developments in the Central African Republic and South Sudan.Josie McCoy, Alli Pyle, Sumeet Vij, Cody Piper, Diego Villarreal-Alejandre, David Olivares, Justice Duerksen, Kyeree Park, Adeline Chiang, Tabina Haider, Vennisia Mo, Yeseul Kim, Darrin Wilson. Esperanza G. Seoungjae Baek, victoria rehn
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Nov 30 (Wed)Poverty and Inequality in the United States. What are trends in poverty in the United States? Are the basic causes of poverty in the US similar or different than those we have seen in developing countries, and in what ways precisely?Ji-Sung Park, Chen-Shiuan Keng, Sihao He, Madiha Haque, Brandon Dizon, Julian Del Castillo, Kyle Dunning, Aileen Liang, Tabina Haider, Jacky Huynh, Hon Wye Soo, Ju-Yi Hsia, Esperanza G, Kaylee Lo.
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