Poverty, Inequality and Social Policies (90-704)

In her book Social Forces and States Judith Teichman argues that “significant and long term improvement in distributional outcomes is a daunting political task [that requires] a strong societal consensus on the importance of the reduction in inequality, one that compels political leaders to make difficult policy changes.” Teichman’s words indicate that poverty and inequality are not just socioeconomic problems, but critical political and policy problems both in the U.S. and in the rest of the world and this class attempts to tackle some of those complex problems.

This course is divided in four sections:

a) The first one discusses the global nature of inequality and what can be done to reduce its impact.
b) The second section will focus on poverty and anti-poverty policies pursued in the U.S.
c) The third section focuses on three middle income countries: Chile, Mexico and South Korea. In this section the focus is on the role that social forces and the state play in the generation of socioeconomic responses to poverty and inequality as well as the impact of Conditional Cash Transfers
d) The fourth section analyses poverty, the behavior of the poor and antipoverty policies in very poor countries or regions of the world. It also discusses micro-financing and Unconditional Transfers

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