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Dunaway Lecture

Sir Angus Deaton

Dwight D Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs Emeritus, Princeton University
Recipient of the 2015 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel

will present

Why is global (and American) poverty so hard to measure
and to eradicate?

Thursday, March 22, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
103 (the Kiva) Erickson Hall, MSU



The elimination of global poverty by 2030 is one of the Sustainable Development Goals, and has been accepted as a goal by the World Bank and by the United States. Yet the measurement of global poverty poses many difficulties, especially now that the SDGs include poverty in rich countries as well as poor countries. The lecture will give a non-technical discussion of some of these issues, including the vexed issue of whether there are people living in the US who are as poor as the poorest in Africa or in India. It also discusses the puzzle of why global poverty exists at all, given that cost of bringing every person in the world up to the global poverty line amounts to less than the cost of a cup of coffee for everyone in the rich world. It argues that “finding out what works” in poverty relief is unlikely to help, and that the problems of global poverty are to do with politics and power, or at least the lack of it.


Professor Deaton is a Senior Scholar and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs Emeritus at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University. His main current research areas are in poverty, inequality, health, wellbeing, economic development, and randomized controlled trials.

He holds both American and British citizenship. In Britain he taught at Cambridge University and the University of Bristol. He is a corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Econometric Society and, in 1978, was the first recipient of the Society's Frisch Medal. He was President of the American Economic Association in 2009. In 2012 he was awarded the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award. In April 2014 he was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences on April 28, 2015.  He is the recipient of the 2015 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. In 2016, he was made a Knight Bachelor for his services to economics and international affairs.


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Michigan State University Department of Economics