Not available in 2018/19
DV407      Half Unit

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Mahvish Shami CON.8.12


This course is available on the MSc in African Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development Management, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Health and International Development, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in Political Economy of Late Development, MSc in Urban Policy (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in Urbanisation and Development. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The course is an interdisciplinary analysis of poverty, where the focus is on poverty both as a dependent variable (what causes poverty) and an independent variable (what poverty causes). The course will draw from a variety of disciplines but will pay special attention to the political economy of poverty; however, no prior mathematical or statistical qualification is required.

The topics to be covered begin with an examination into the definition and measurement of poverty. We focus as well on the relationship between poverty and inequality, education, gender and human development, with special attention to the relationship between poverty, violence, and democracy. We also examine the origins of modern famines and whether democratization contributes to poverty reduction. We close with further thoughts on poverty reduction and the Millennium Development Goals.


20 hours of lectures and 13 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the MT. 2 hours of lectures in the LT.

Indicative reading

The course has two required purchase books, namely Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom (Oxford University Press, 1999) and Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty (PublicAffairs/Penguin, 2011). Other texts that will be useful include Sabina Alkire, Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction (Oxford University Press, 2005); Anirudh Krishna, ed. Poverty, Participation and Democracy: A Global Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2008) and Amartya Sen, Poverty and Famines (Oxford University Press, 1981).


Take home exam (85%) in the ST.
Presentation (15%) in the MT.

The exam (85%, duration: 4 hours take home exam) will be held in the main exam period.

The class presentation (15%, duration 20 mins) will be given in the class seminars.

The paper will be released via the course Moodle site.


Student performance results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 10.2
Merit 72.1
Pass 16.4
Fail 1.2

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2017/18: 80

Average class size 2017/18: 13

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

Lecture capture used 2017/18: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 84%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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