Readings

Required Textbook

[Poor Economics] = Banerjee, Abhijit, and Esther Duflo. Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty. PublicAffairs, 2011. ISBN: 9781586487980.

Starred readings are required. Additional readings are optional but will aid in your understanding of the lecture material.

LEC # TOPICS READINGS
Introduction
1 Introduction I: What this class is about! No readings
2 Introduction II: What is a poverty trap? *Chapter 1 and pp. 19–22 in Chapter 2 in [Poor Economics].
3 Introduction III: Learning what works: The role of experiments

*Rodrik, Dani. “Jeff Sachs Vindicated.” Dani Rodrik’s weblog. January 15, 2008. Post and discussion.

*Over, Mead. “Jeff Sachs Not Vindicated.” Global Health Policy Blog. January 18, 2008. Post and discussion.

Kristof, Nicholas. “George Clooney Answers Your Questions about Malaria,” The New York Times, February 8, 2011.

Consumption
4 Food I: The nature of famine

* Sen, Amartya. “The Great Bengal Famine.” In Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation. Oxford University Press, 1983. ISBN: 9780198284635.

Krugman, Paul. “Droughts, Floods and Food,” The New York Times, February 6, 2011.

5 Food II: Is there a nutrition based trap-the demand for food and calories

*Chapter 2 in [Poor Economics]. pp. 22–8.

*Levitt, Steven D. “The Indiana Jones of Economics, Part I, Part II, Part III.” Freakonomics.com. May 7, 2008.

6 Food III: Is there a nutrition based poverty trap-the hidden trap *Chapter 2 in [Poor Economics]. pp. 28–40.
Health
7 Health I: Delivering healthcare, a case study from India *Banerjee, Abhijit, and Esther Duflo. “Improving Health Care Delivery in India: Udaipur Case Study.” (PDF - 1.4MB)
8 Health II: Low hanging fruit: Understanding healthcare behavior in developing countries Chapter 3 in [Poor Economics].
Education
9 Education I: Setting the stage

Buy at MIT Press * Easterly, William. “Educated for What?” In The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics. MIT Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780262550420.

* Case, Anne. “The Primacy of Education.” In Understanding Poverty. Edited by Abhijit V. Banerjee, Roland Benabou, and Dilip Mookherjee. Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780195305203. [Preview with Google Books]

10 Education II: How to make schools work for the poor: Pratham’s experience *Banerjee, Abhijit, Shawn Cole, et al. “Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India.” (PDF). The Quarterly Journal of Economics 122, no. 3 (2007): 1235–64.
11 Education III: Beyond supply and demand wars *Chapter 4 in [Poor Economics].
Family
12 Family I: What drives fertility decisions *Chapter 5 in [Poor Economics]. pp. 103–23.
13 Family II: Household model and discrimination against girls

*Chapter 5 in [Poor Economics]. pp. 123–9.

*Sen, Amartya. “More Than 100 Million Women Are Missing.” The New York Review of Books 37, no. 20 (1990).

Insurance
14 Risk and Insurance I *Besley, Timothy. “Nonmarket Institutions for Credit and Risk Sharing in Low Income Countries.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 9, no. 3 (1995): 115–27.
15 Risk and Insurance II *Chapter 6 in [Poor Economics].
Credit
16 Credit I: Microcredit under strain

Banerjee, Abhijit, et. al. “Microcredit Is Not the Enemy,” Financial Times. December 13, 2010.

S. D. “Big Trouble for Microfinance,” The Economist, December 2, 2010.

Yunus, Muhammad. “Sacrificing Microcredit for Megaprofits.” The New York Times, January 14, 2011.

17 Credit II: The economics of lending to the poor *Chapter 7 in [Poor Economics]. pp. 157–68.
18 Credit II: The economics of lending to the poor (cont.)

*Chapter 7 in [Poor Economics]. pp. 168–80.

Banjerjee, Abhijit, Esther Duflo, Rachel Glennerster, and Cynthia Kinnan. “The Miracle of Microfinance? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation.” (PDF) Working paper, 2009.

Savings
19 Savings I * Rutherford, Stuart, and Sukhwinder Singh Arora. Chapters 1 and 2 in The Poor and Their Money: Microfinance From a Twenty-First Century Consumer’s Perspective. Practical Action, 2010. ISBN: 9781853396885.
20 Savings II *Chapter 8 in [Poor Economics].
Entrepreneurship
21 The poor and their businesses *Chapter 9 in [Poor Economics].
22 The poor and their businesses (cont.) *Chapter 9 in [Poor Economics].
Political Economy
23 Institutions I: The big picture

* Acemoglu, Daron, Simon Johnson, and James Robinson. “Understanding Prosperity and Poverty: Geography, Institutions, and The Reversal of Fortune.” In Understanding Poverty. Edited by Abhijit V. Banerjee, Roland Benabou, and Dilip Mookherjee. Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780195305203. [Preview with Google Books]

Engerman, Stanley L., and Kenneth Sokoloff. “Colonialism, Inequality and Long-Run Paths of Development.” In Understanding Poverty. Edited by Abhijit V. Banerjee, Roland Benabou, and Dilip Mookherjee. Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780195305203. [Preview with Google Books]

24 Institutions II: The very small pictures *Chapter 10 in [Poor Economics].
25 Policies, politics No readings

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

theaters Lecture Videos
grading Exams with Solutions
notes Lecture Notes
assignment Written Assignments
co_present Instructor Insights