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Poverty: a reading list

Poverty can be defined by ‘the condition of having little or no wealth or few material possessions; indigence, destitution and is a growing area within development studies. In time for The Development Studies Association annual conference taking place in Oxford this year in September, we have put together this reading list of key books on poverty, including a variety of online and journal resources on topics ranging from poverty reduction and inequality, to economic development and policy.

Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Poverty edited by Philip N. Jefferson
Have countries made progress in mitigating poverty? How do we determine who is poor and who is not poor? What intuitions or theories guide the design of anti-poverty policy? Are there anti-poverty policies that work? For whom do they work? This Handbook examines poverty measurement, anti-poverty policy and programs, and poverty theory from the perspective of economics.

Growth and Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa edited by Channing Arndt, Andy McKay, and Finn Tarp
This is an open access title and can be read on Oxford Scholarship Online. This book comprehensively evaluates trends in living conditions in 16 major sub-Saharan African countries, corresponding to nearly 75% of the total population.


Global Poverty by Andy Sumner
An in-depth analysis of the global poverty ‘problem’ and how it is framed and understood. The volume questions existing theories of the causes of global poverty and argues that global poverty is gradually becoming a question of national distribution.

9780198743750The Politics of Poverty Reduction by Paul Mosley
Globally, there is a commitment to eliminate poverty; and yet the politics that have caused anti-poverty policies to succeed in some countries and to fail in others have been little studied. The Politics of Poverty Reduction focuses on these political processes and ‘pro-poor’ policy.

Written for the nonspecialist, The World Bank Research Observer informs readers about research being undertaken within the Bank and outside the Bank in areas of economics relevant for development policy. Poverty is a key focus of published research as evident from the recent articles ‘Population, Poverty, and Climate Change‘ and ‘How Long Will It Take to Lift One Billion People Out of Poverty?

9780198737407Diverse Development Paths and Structural Transformation in the Escape from Poverty edited by Martin Andersson and Tobias Axelsson
The volume demonstrates how analysis of current growth processes in developing countries can be enriched by paying closer attention to the multifaceted nature of both economic backwardness and successful pathways to escape it.

The Economics of Poverty by Martin Ravallion
The Economics of Poverty strives to support well-informed efforts to put in place effective policies to assure continuing success in reducing poverty in all its dimensions. The book reviews critically the past and present debates on the central policy issues of economic development everywhere. How much poverty is there? Why does poverty exist? What can be done to eliminate poverty?

9780198728450Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa edited by Andrew McKay and Erik Thorbecke
This volume discusses long-standing, but central, economic issues in Sub-Saharan Africa, including the nature of growth-poverty-inequality relations, agriculture, the labour market and openness, and globalization.

Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and Analysis by Sabina Alkire, James Foster, Suman Seth, Maria Emma Santos, José Manuel Roche, and Paola Ballon
A systematic conceptual, theoretical, and methodological introduction to multi-dimensional poverty measurement and analysis. It provides a lucid overview of the problems that a range of multidimensional techniques can address and sets out a synthetic introduction of counting and axiomatic approaches to multidimensional poverty measurement.

9780199684823The Shame of Poverty by Robert Walker
The Shame of Poverty discusses the origins of poverty and  invites the reader to question their understanding of poverty by bringing into close relief the day-to-day experiences of low-income families living in societies as diverse as Norway and Uganda, Britain and India, China, South Korea, and Pakistan.

The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Poverty edited by David Brady and Linda M. Burton
The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Poverty builds a common scholarly ground in the study of poverty by bringing together an international, inter-disciplinary group of scholars to provide their perspectives on the issue.

Wber 30-2_Cover.inddThe World Bank Economic Review seeks to publish innovative theoretical and empirical research concerning economic development and poverty for the purpose of designing, implementing and sustaining effective policy in low and middle income countries. ‘Estimating Quarterly Poverty Rates Using Labor Force Surveys: A Primer‘ and ‘Is Workfare Cost Effective against Poverty in a Poor Labor-Surplus Economy?‘ are recently published samples of the journal’s dedication to the study of poverty.

Featured image credit: Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! by Poverty. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr.

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