Twelfth Luca d’Agliano Lecture in Development Economics

Twelfth Luca d’Agliano Lecture in Development Economics: “The Idea of Antipoverty Policy”, by  Martin Ravallion (Edmond D. Villani Professor of Economics, Georgetown University), 15 December 2014, 6 p.m., Fondazione Luigi Einaudi, Palazzo d’Azeglio, Via Principe Amedeo 34, 10123 Turin.

How did we come to think that eliminating poverty is a legitimate goal for public policy? What policies emerged in the hope of attaining that goal? The last 200 years have witnessed a dramatic change in thinking about poverty. Mainstream economic thinking in the 18th century held that poverty was necessary and even desirable for a country’s economic success. Today, poverty is more often viewed as a constraint on that success. In short, poverty switched from being seen as a social good to a social bad. This change in thinking, and the accompanying progress in knowledge, has greatly influenced public action, with heightened emphasis on the role of antipoverty policy in sustainable promotion from poverty, as well as protection. Development strategies today typically strive for a virtuous cycle of growth with equity and a range of policy interventions have emerged to help assure that outcome. An expanding body of knowledge has taught us about how effective those interventions are in specific settings, although many knowledge gaps remain.

Martin Ravallion holds the inaugural Edmond D. Villani Chair of Economics at Georgetown University, prior to which he was the Director of the World Bank’s research department. He has advised numerous governments and international agencies on poverty and policies for fighting it, and he has written extensively on this and other subjects in economics, including four books and 200 papers in scholarly journals and edited volumes. He is President-elect of the Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, a Senior Fellow of the Bureau for Research in Economic Analysis of Development, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, USA, and a non-resident Fellow of the Center for Global Development. Among various prizes and awards, in 2012 he was awarded the John Kenneth Galbraith Prize from the American Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. His latest book, The Economics of Poverty, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2015.

Text of the Lecture
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