Poverty and Social Policies


Units: 6


The goals of this course are to analyze the concept of poverty and its measurements and selected social policies pursued in Western Europe, the U.S. and in developing countries

The first section will analyze and define poverty and inequality measurements (one week)

The second section will focus on the concept of the Welfare State and anti-poverty policies pursued in Western Europe (one week)

The third section will focus on the U.S and it will analyze health, housing, social security and welfare policies in the U.S (three weeks)

The fourth section will analyze poverty and the behavior of the poor in very poor countries, or regions of the world. It will also include a discussion of specific policies such as micro financing, Conditional and Unconditional Cash Transfers, also known as Universal Basic Income.

Learning Outcomes

SkillsThe course emphasizes the development of analytical skills.

Students will develop these analytical skills in different forms:

Class discussions: Will allow the students to develop the ability to analyze, discuss, and defend different policy positions in an academic environment

Writing two policy memos: It is critical for all of us to be able to summarize a problem, present possible solutions, and recommend policies/solutions to others. The policy memos allow the students to develop these very important skills. Students are expected to assume the role of a policy maker and provide specific policies to the President or another relevant policy maker. The policy memos emphasize the use of data, the analysis of the problem, and the policy design (35% of the grade each)

Group presentation: Group presentations are geared to allow the student to develop the ability to work in a project with other students, learn about a specific topic in depth, and prepare a class presentation using either power point or class handouts. In order to ensure the effectiveness of the presentation the instructor meets with the student about a week before the presentation to set the specific topics and parameters of the presentation. The handout or slides need to be submitted to the instructor at least 24 hours before the presentation. The instructor will review the slides or handouts in order to verify the effectiveness of the presentation (30% of the grade)