DV407      Half Unit

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Elliott Green and Dr Sohini Kar


This course is available on the 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.

Places will be allocated with priority to ID and joint-degree students.  If there are more ID and joint-degree students than DV407 can accommodate, these places will be allocated randomly.  Non-ID/Joint Degree students will be allocated to spare places by random selection with the preference given first to those degrees where the regulations permit this 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,  gender, social protection and human development, with special attention to the relationship between poverty, violence, and democracy. We also examine whether democratization contributes to poverty reduction.


20 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will give at least one class presentation, and submit one formative essay of 2000 words.

Indicative reading

The course has one required purchase book, namely Angus Deaton's The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality (Princeton University Press 2013). Other texts that will be useful include  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), 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).


Exam (75%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (25%, 2000 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 13
Merit 68.2
Pass 15.7
Fail 3.1

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: No

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