The Challenges of Global Poverty

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9/10 stars
based on  15 reviews
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Start Date TBA

Course Details

Cost

FREE

Upcoming Schedule

  • TBA

Course Provider

edX online courses
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be tau...
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be taught by David J. Malan, a senior lecturer on computer science at Harvard University for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. But there's not just one professor - you have access to the entire teaching staff, allowing you to receive feedback on assignments straight from the experts. Pursue a Verified Certificate to document your achievements and use your coursework for job and school applications, promotions, and more. EdX also works with top universities to conduct research, allowing them to learn more about learning. Using their findings, edX is able to provide students with the best and most effective courses, constantly enhancing the student experience.

Provider Subject Specialization
Sciences & Technology
Business & Management
23485 reviews

Course Description

This is a course for those who are interested in the challenge posed by massive and persistent world poverty, and are hopeful that economists might have something useful to say about this challenge. The questions we will take up include: Is extreme poverty a thing of the past? What is economic life like when living under a dollar per day? Are the poor always hungry? How do we make schools work for poor citizens? How do we deal with the disease burden? Is microfinance invaluable or overrated? Without property rights, is life destined to be "nasty, brutish and short"? Should we leave economic development to the market? Should we leave economic development to non-governmental organizations (NGOs)? Does foreign aid help or hinder? Where is the best place to intervene? And many others.

At the end of this course, you should have a good sense of the key questions asked by scholars interested in poverty today, and hopefully a few answers ...

This is a course for those who are interested in the challenge posed by massive and persistent world poverty, and are hopeful that economists might have something useful to say about this challenge. The questions we will take up include: Is extreme poverty a thing of the past? What is economic life like when living under a dollar per day? Are the poor always hungry? How do we make schools work for poor citizens? How do we deal with the disease burden? Is microfinance invaluable or overrated? Without property rights, is life destined to be "nasty, brutish and short"? Should we leave economic development to the market? Should we leave economic development to non-governmental organizations (NGOs)? Does foreign aid help or hinder? Where is the best place to intervene? And many others.

At the end of this course, you should have a good sense of the key questions asked by scholars interested in poverty today, and hopefully a few answers as well.

How does this course use videos? Do I need to watch the lectures live?
Various videos will be released each week including lecture sequences on the topic for that week, special interview videos with leading economists, and supplementary videos for reviewing topics in economics and statistics. You can watch these at your leisure once they come available each week, though we encourage you to keep up with the pace of the course.

Will the text of the lectures be available?
Yes, transcripts of the videotaped lectures will be available alongside each video.

Is there a required textbook?
Required readings will be assigned each week. More details will be available on the syllabus.

How are grades assigned?
Grading will be based on lecture sequence questions (25%), homework assignments (45%), a brief final project (10%), and a final exam (20%). See syllabus for more details.

Will certificates be awarded?
Yes. Two forms of certificates are available for this course. Online learners who achieve a passing grade can earn an Honor Code Certificate of Mastery or pay a small fee and earn a Verified Certificate of Mastery. These certificates will indicate you have successfully completely the course but will not include a specific grade. The certificates will be issued by edX under the name of MITx.

Will the material be made available to anyone registered for this course?
Yes, all the material will be made available to all students.

What type of computing environment do I need for this course?
You need to have a computer running one of the following operating systems:

  •     Microsoft Windows, version XP or greater (XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7)
  •     Apple OSX, version 10.2 or greater
  •     Linux - most distributions that have been released within the past two years should work
Reviews 9/10 stars
15 Reviews for The Challenges of Global Poverty

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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 3 months ago
Everyone interested in the economics of poverty should go through this course. Professors Duflo and Banerjee, have outdone themselves, making complex economic theories simple enough for a beginner to grasp. I enjoyed being part of the course and look forward to more courses on global poverty.
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8/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 4 months ago
I think this course is for me as I have seen all these questions thriving on daily basis in Pakistan.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 4 months ago
i did not start yet, but the little i read about these courses seems sufficient to judge that they are easy to join and beneficial beyond compare adaroub sedna
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Kwame Antwi-yeboah profile image
Kwame Antwi-yeboah profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 4 months ago
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 5 months ago
I am super excited to have been enrolled for this course. I'm passionate about development economics and I hope to learn a lot from world leading Economists.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 5 months ago
An excellent course. Very well taught and presented. I learnt a lot about how people in poverty can live, and what it means for people to be under the poverty line. Although I got a passing mark I shall take this course again. Now I also have the book "Poor Economics" to help me with my studies. Thank you.
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6/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 8 months ago
This course would've been if only Mrs Duflo could speak English without her deeply pronouced French accent. It was terrible! It's a pity because the course is really great.
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Timothy Burns profile image
Timothy Burns profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 4 reviews
  • 3 completed
5 years, 8 months ago
I learned so much more than I expected, and it effected me on a very personal level. It is a must course for anyone interested in economics and the very poor.
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8/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 10 months ago
I am doing my Rural Management course in India and this course showed me a lot of issues pertaining to developing nations and the ways to approach these issues in simple language. All the concepts can be simulated into any developing country with relevance. I could integrate the learning from most of the topics discussed here into my own coursework as well.
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Jessica Susser profile image
Jessica Susser profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 4 reviews
  • 3 completed
5 years, 10 months ago
I love this course! I have no background in development and only high-school level economics and had no problems understanding the concepts presented in the lectures. The videos were short, enjoyable and followed by short "finger exercises" to help reinforce the material. This format made the course easy to complete. Dr. Banerjee and Dr. Duflo are experts in the field of poor economics and most of the examples in the class are based on their research. I was particularly impressed by the way that they applied experimental design to tackling the problems of global poverty. This course has completely changed the way I think how to solve social problems. In addition to learning a lot about poverty, taking this course increased my understanding of economics, experimental design, and human behavior. I am sad that the course is ending and would recommend it to anyone!
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kr strug profile image
kr strug profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 9 reviews
  • 8 completed
4 years, 4 months ago
Course about some problems of developing countries organized by people who introduce the randomized trials to policy testing. The course gives detailed examples of few such randomized trials from different fields of social development area. Up to some point it is very interesting, later I got little bit bored and waited for some generalizations for general policymaking, but probably I shouldnt expect that.
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8/10 starsCompleted
6 years, 1 month ago
Definitely an eye-opener. Although a better knowledge of statistical methods would have helped, I found that reading Poor Economics ahead of taking this course made the experience extremely enjoyable. Tests can be challenging, primarily because answers often depend on the language used in the question. However, taking this course should not be about scores, rather it should be about understanding the origins and challenges of poverty in order to apply findings of RCT to one's own interest and skills set to contribute to eradicating poverty globally.
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Paul Hundal profile image
Paul Hundal profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 138 reviews
  • 119 completed
4 years, 8 months ago
This course gave me insights into global poverty that I did not expect. The depth of experience and knowledge of these lecturers is enlightening. One drawback is their speaking style was difficult to follow at times and the exams at times are more technically challenging unless you clearly understand the concepts (I have an economics background so picked up on it easier). The quality of the information conveyed however is in my opinion exceptionally high and well worth the effort if you what to better understand the state of the world for the poorest in society. The results will be unexpected.
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8/10 starsCompleted
6 years, 1 month ago
Very good quality course. Videos are shot in the MIT classrooms which helps with atmosphere, but also makes them drag sometimes. Professors have intimate knowledge of the field and it shows. Difficulty level is just right.
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Cyril profile image
Cyril profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
6 years, 11 months ago
This MOOC provides a nice review of development economics taught by 2 main actors : Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee. The course is based on their book "Poor Economics" (which is freely available on edx platform), each week is dedicated to a chapter. The book is very well written, interesting and understandable even for those who have never studied economics. It covers the main fields of development economics, with chapters on food, health, banks,.. Its neutrality is appreciated : even if they expose mainly their points of view, they largely quote other actors of this field, even their opponents. I also liked their scientific approach, based on randomized control trials. This enables to better understand the behavior of poor people, that may not react as you expected. The pace of the course was good : it requires 3 to 4 hours to watch the videos and read the chapter of the book. The homework, which consists of multiple choice questi... This MOOC provides a nice review of development economics taught by 2 main actors : Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee. The course is based on their book "Poor Economics" (which is freely available on edx platform), each week is dedicated to a chapter. The book is very well written, interesting and understandable even for those who have never studied economics. It covers the main fields of development economics, with chapters on food, health, banks,.. Its neutrality is appreciated : even if they expose mainly their points of view, they largely quote other actors of this field, even their opponents. I also liked their scientific approach, based on randomized control trials. This enables to better understand the behavior of poor people, that may not react as you expected. The pace of the course was good : it requires 3 to 4 hours to watch the videos and read the chapter of the book. The homework, which consists of multiple choice question, was not particularly challenging but there was often questions which were very tricky because of double meaning or a confused wording. It's extremely frustating when you understand the course but you fail because of this. The second main problem of this MOOC are the teachers. Even if they are greatly skilled and very interesting, they are surely not good speakers. One of the main reasons is that they have a very strong accent : for example Esther Duflo's French accent can be very irritating after 2h of lecture (and yet I'm French...). This can be annoying on the long term and this is why I often prefered to refer to the book for the questions. Except for these 2 points, this MOOC is very interesting and engaging. I recommend it for every one interested in development economics : it enables to have a concrete and scientific view on the poverty in the world, and it enables to wipe away a lot of prejudice.
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