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Last updated:

December 27, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


This is a course for those who are interested in the challenge posed by massive and persistent world poverty, and are hopeful that economists might have something useful to say about this challenge.

The questions we will take up include: Is extreme poverty a thing of the past? What is economic life like when living under a dollar per day? Why do some countries grow fast and others fall further behind? Does growth help the poor? Are famines unavoidable? How can we end child labor—or should we? How do we make schools work for poor citizens? How do we deal with the disease burden? Is micro finance invaluable or overrated? Without property rights, is life destined to be “nasty, brutish and short”? Has globalization been good to the poor? Should we leave economic development to the market? Should we leave economic development to non-governmental organizations (NGOs)? Does foreign aid help or hinder? Where is the best place to intervene?

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction Unlimited
  • What is a Poverty Trap? Unlimited
  • Social Experiments: Why and How? Unlimited
  • Is There a Nutrition-Based Poverty Trap? Unlimited
  • Nutrition: The Hidden Traps Unlimited
  • Health: Low Hanging Fruit? Unlimited
  • Education: Setting the Stage Unlimited
  • Is It Possible to Deliver Quality Education to the Poor-The Pratham-JPAL Partnership Unlimited
  • Education: The Man Made Trap Unlimited
  • (Somewhat) Un-Orthodox Findings on the Family Unlimited
  • How Do Families Decide? Unlimited
  • Gender Discrimination Unlimited
  • Risk and Insurance Unlimited
  • Insurance Unlimited
  • The (Not So Simple) Economics of Lending to the Poor Unlimited
  • The Promise and Perils of Microfinance Unlimited
  • Savings Unlimited
  • Savings 2 Unlimited
  • Entrepreneurs and Workers Unlimited
  • Policies, Politics: Can Evidence Play a Role in the Fight Against Poverty? Unlimited
  • Five Thoughts in Place of a Sweeping Conclusion Unlimited

About the instructor

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology