Across the developing world, poverty has been decreasing, but unevenly, and inequality is increasingly identified as a serious burden on development. In recent years, leading economists have contributed to big picture views on what is behind development and poverty reduction: influential popular books have been produced by thinkers such as Amartya Sen, Bill Easterly, Paul Collier, Jeffrey Sachs, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, Joseph Stiglitz, Angus Deaton and others.
In this lecture, Stefan Dercon will reflect on these contrasting views: how they view the causes of poverty, what to do about it and how inequality fits into these views. In particular, he will explore the role of inequality as a cause of poverty persistence, and how to overcome this. The implications for development thinking and policy will be discussed too.
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About the speaker
Stefan Dercon is Professor of Economic Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and the Economics Department, and a Fellow of Jesus College. He is also Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economics.
Since 2011 he has been Chief Economist of the Department of International Development (DFID), the government department in charge with the UK’s aid policy and spending. While he returned to Oxford in 2015 to teach and conduct research, he continues with his role at DFID on a part-time basis.
Stefan is a development economist, applying economic analysis and statistics to understand the causes and consequences of poverty and the key economic development challenges of developing countries. He has worked extensively in Ethiopia and Tanzania, as well as in India, Peru, Vietnam, Kenya and other countries. One specific area of interest is the study of the consequences of climatic, health and other risks faced by poor populations, their impact on poverty and the quest for appropriate public policy responses. His book, Dull Disasters: How Planning Ahead Will Make A Difference, co-authored with Daniel Clarke, was published in 2016 by Oxford University Press.