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More Relatively-Poor People in a Less Absolutely-Poor World


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Speaker(s): Martin Ravallion
Chair: Professor Craig Calhoun

Recorded on 22 November 2012 in Old Theatre, Old Building.

Relative deprivation, shame and social exclusion matter to the welfare of people everywhere, but this fact is ignored by standard measures of economic performance, including poverty. The lecture will argue that such social effects on welfare call for a reconsideration of how we assess global poverty, but they do not support widely used measures of relative poverty. It is argued instead that a new class of measures is called for, and new estimates of global poverty are presented. The lecture will discuss the implications for thinking about development policy, including setting global development goals.

Martin Ravallion is Director of the World Bank’s Research Department and (from 2013) holds the Edmond D. Villani Chair of Economics at Georgetown University. He served as acting Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, Development Economics at the World Bank succeeding Justin Yifu Lin, and holding the post until Kaushik Basu took up the post. His main research interests over the last 25 years have concerned poverty and policies for fighting it. He has advised numerous governments and international agencies on this topic, and he has written extensively on this and other subjects in economics, including three books and 200 papers in scholarly journals and edited volumes. In 2012 he was awarded the John Kenneth Galbraith Prize. Prior to joining the Bank, Martin was on the faculty of the Australian National University (ANU). He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and has taught economics at LSE, Oxford University, the Australian National University, Princeton University and the Paris School of Economics.

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