Martin Ravallion’s new book, “The Economics of Poverty: History, Measurement, and Policy”

Earlier last week I had a chance to see Martin Ravallion speak on his new book at an event held at the Center for Global Development. Sandwiched in the middle of a full day of meetings, the 1 and a half hour discussion on the intersection of poverty analysis and role of economics was surprisingly invigorating.

During the course of the discussion I was reminded of an ethics course I took as part of my graduate degree in International Development Policy. While our study focused on aspects of history, such as the writings of Rawls and Sen, and some level of discussion around various methods of measurement, in certain ways it failed to bring together the evolution of thought around “being poor”, how we measure it, and the greater policy implications. Judging from the back and forth between Ravallion and various discussants, it appears his book successfully pulls the three themes together. Given that the intended audience is meant to be students, I’d certainly recommend the book to those looking to expand their understanding of the overlap between economic thought and poverty (or those simply looking to supplement reasons as to why we need more development economists).

For those interested in reading a review of the book I suggest David McKenzie post on the World Bank’s Development Impact blog.

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