Poverty and Development

  • Summer schools
  • Academic and Professional Development
  • Application code LCS-DV202
  • Starting 2019
  • Location: Cape Town


DV202 Gangster Museum

Photo: Poverty and Development students visit 18 Gangster Museum in Khayelitsha, Cape Town's largest and fastest growing townships, Christian Peirce, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The course is an interdisciplinary analysis of poverty and development, where the focus is on how and why some countries can achieve poverty reduction and development while others do not.

The course pays particular attention to the political economy of development, investigating the way we conceive of poverty and development both philosophically and practically. In particular the course examines the political and economic incentives that can drive governments to focus on development and poverty reduction, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. We also focus on such topics as the relationship between poverty and inequality, health, democratization, urbanization, and demography.

This course aims to help you:

  • Understand the concept of development and its different forms;
  • Critically analyze the differences between poverty reduction and development;   
  • Examine the poverty-inequality-growth nexus;
  • and Critically evaluate the relationship between poverty and violence.

Video Play DV202

Video: "Why are some countries richer than others, is probably the biggest question in development studies. This question is essential in terms of understanding the variation in development; we know that are rich countries in the world, we know that there are poor countries, but the reasons why this huge difference exists is still a million dollar question." Dr Elliott Green, Associate Professor of Development Studies

Click here to see the full course outline

Programme details


Dr Elliott Green

Elliott Green is an Associate Professor of Development Studies in the Department of International Development at the LSE. He holds degrees from Princeton University (BA) and the LSE (MSc, PhD), and has been teaching at the LSE since he received his PhD in 2005. His current research focuses on ethnic politics in modern Africa with empirical interest in Uganda, Tanzania and Botswana, among other countries. He sits on the editorial boards of such journals as the Journal of Development Studies and the Journal of Modern African Studies.

Student feedback

"The best part of the programme was learning about the factors that caused Africa's lack of development and industrialisation and the tutorials because there were many views expressed which opened my learning experience." Malebo Alice Maloka, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Click here to read more of our alumni testimonials.


There are no prerequisites for this course.


Assessment will be based on a 1500 word mid-term essay (worth 50% of the final mark) and a final exam with essay questions (worth 50% of the final mark).

Preparatory Reading List

A reading list and course pack will be provided to registered students approximately six weeks before the beginning of the programme.

There is one required text for this course: 

  • Deaton, Angus. 2013. The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Deaton is well known for his work in the field of development economics, which won him the 2015 Nobel Prize in Economics. This is his most recent book: it is very well grounded in empirical economic research but is very easy to read. It is widely available.

Other recent books on the political economy of poverty and development which students might find useful in preparation for the course include the following:

  • Acemoglu, Daron and James Robinson. 2013. Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty. Profile Books.

  • Banerjee, Abhijit V. and Esther Duflo. 2011. Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty. PublicAffairs/Penguin

  • Collins, Daryl, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford and Orlanda Ruthven. 2009. Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Dyson, Tim. 2010. Population and Development: The Demographic Transition. Zed Books.

  • Fisman, Raymond and Edward Miguel. 2008. Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence and the Poverty of Nations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Karlan, Dean and Jacob Appel. 2011. More than Good Intentions: How a New Economics is Helping to Solve Global Poverty. London/New York: Dutton.

  • Krishna, Anirudh. 2010. One Illness Away: Why People Become Poor and How They Escape Poverty. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Radelet, Steven. 2015. The Great Surge: The Ascent of the Developing World. Simon and Schuster.

  • Sen, Amartya. 1999. Development as Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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