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Course Description
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Economics: Inequality, Poverty, and Globalization
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
Barcelona, Spain

Subject Area(s) Level(s) Instruction in Credits Contact Hours Prerequisites
Economics 300 English 3 45 N/A


Inequality defines the world we live in. At the turn of the 21st century, the richest five
percent of people received one-third of total global income, the next 15 percent richer
got another third while the poorest 80 percent of the population had to share the
remaining third. In this course we will study the development of international and
global inequality, inequality within nations, gender inequality and poverty in the long
run. The main questions that the student will be able to discuss are: has inequality
increased over time? does globalisation make the world more unequal?, what policies
have been implemented in order to reduce inequality and how effective have they been?,
and why should we care about poverty?


International and global inequality

1. Concepts of inequality: international and global inequality
2. Development in the 19th and 20th centuries: origins of the big divergence
between countries
3. Factors explaining international inequality
4. A decrease but high level of global inequality in the last 20 years
5. Does globalisation make the world more unequal?
Inequality within nations
6. Concept of income inequality
7. Did growth breed inequality or did inequality breed growth?
8. Redistributive response
9. The role of the Welfare State
Gender Inequality
10. Gender inequality within the family
11. Inequality in the labour market: wage discrimination
12. Concepts of poverty. Nature of poverty
13. Poverty in Rich Countries. Poverty in poor countries
14. Poverty: Why should we care?


Mid-term exam (30%): To be written in class. The exam will have five short questions
on the material from the lectures and readings.

Review Essay (30%): a review essay of approximately 8 pages that discusses two
readings. A part from summarizing the text, the essay should answer the following
questions: what thesis is the author arguing? what evidence does the author use to
substantiate the thesis? And, does the evidence sustain the argument?

Final Exam (40%): To be written in class. The exam will consist of five questions on
the material firm the lectures and readings.


Aghion, Philippe & Williamson, Jeffrey G. (1998), Growth, Inequality and
Globalization: Theory, History and Policy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Beneria, Lourdes, (2003), Gender, Development and Globalization. Economics as if all
People Mattered, London & NY, Routledge.

Brenner, Y.S.; Kaelble, H. & Thomas, M. (1991), Income Distribution in Historical
Perspective, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Milanovic, Branko (2005), Worlds apart: measuring international and global
inequality, Princeton, Princeton University Press.

Sen, Amartya (2000), Development as freedom, New York, Anchor Books.

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