The Global Social Challenge: Beyond Poverty & Inequality SPP4205


Period 4A
Start Date 3 February 2025
End Date 28 February 2025
ECTS credits 4
Instruction language English
Coordinator Z. Nimeh
Teaching methods Assignments; Lectures; Project Based Learning; Presentations; Papers; Research; Skills; Work in subgroups
Assessment methods Attendance; Participation; Presentation and  Paper; Country Case Studies
Keywords Poverty, Inequality,  Human Development, Social Justice 


Full course description

The evidence of mounting world poverty and inequality is compelling. The challenge globally is to move beyond sheer descriptions and consider holistic frameworks that can give poor and vulnerable populations  sustainable access to the resources they need to be self-sufficient and to be able to contribute in their societies. There is a common perception that it is primarily developing countries which experience severe poverty and inequality but the problem also extends to developed and industrialised countries. This course presents students with a wide range of concepts, definitions, and theories of poverty and inequality. The main objective is to increase knowledge and understanding of the diversity and complexity of  poverty and inequality, their forms and root causes and the linkages  the concepts of human development and the welfare state. Students will learn the basic technical skills required to measure poverty and inequality and consider a range of other topics including: social risks and vulnerability, patterns of economic and social development, sources of inequality, formal and informal labour markets, social impacts of growth, macro-economic (fiscal, monetary) policy, global governance, the role of international institutions and their role in development.

Course objectives

  1. Explain the translation of theory into conceptual and measurement options for poverty, inequality, and vulnerability. 
  2. Justify the selection of poverty and inequality measures within a given context, which requires:
  • Defining, comparing, and applying ways of understanding poverty measurements (uni-dimensional and multidimensional)
  • Examining, justifying, and applying different simple methods of measuring inequality. 

3. Identify and explain more complex inequality and mobility measurement methods
4.  Explain the relationship between historical patterns of poverty, inequality and the welfare state
5. Appraise, negotiate, advocate, and recommend policy options relating to poverty reduction strategies for duty bearers.



Recommended reading

Deneulin, S., & Shahani, L. (2009). An introduction to the human development and capability approach: Freedom and agency. Earthscan. 

Haughton, J., & Khandker, S. R. (2009). Handbook on Poverty and Inequality. Washington D.C.: World Bank Publications.

Course Reader