wider_0103 - World Institute for Development Economics...

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World Institute for Development Economics Research United Nations University O ver 140 economists and experts met 30-31 May in Helsinki to report and discuss research findings on human well-being, poverty and global and regional inequality, especially in the world’s poorest countries. This is part of a series of conferences, meetings and research projects organized by WIDER on these topics. With more than a billion people living on less than one dollar per day and gaps in living conditions growing within and between countries, inequality, poverty and human well-being remain as core issues for researchers and policy-makers alike. We now know more about these issues than ever before, as a result of conceptual and methodological advances and better data. Yet despite recent progress, the quality of analysis and data still leave much to be desired. This is true particularly with respect to the world’s poorest countries, in which the need to take action is most urgent, as recognized by the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. WIDER is at the forefront of inequality, poverty and well-being research, and will continue to advance analytical techniques, both empirical and conceptual, especially as they apply to the poorest people in the poorest countries. The conference papers addressed a wide variety of theoretical, methodological and analytical issues related to these themes, and the programme, papers, list of participants and presentations are available at: www.wider.unu.edu WIDER Conference on Inequality, Poverty and Human Well-being Conceptual Challenges in Poverty and Inequality: One Development Economist’s Perspective by Ravi Kanbur T he last 30 years in the analysis of inequality and poverty has seen a phase of conceptual advancement (1970-mid 1980s) followed by a phase of application and policy debate (mid 1980s-now). Both phases were exciting and useful in their own way, but the applied phase has significantly exhausted the potential of the conceptual advances of two decades ago. There is now a need for a new phase of conceptual advances, which will make use of the shifting methodological terrain in mainstream economics, and answer emerging policy questions. Three Decades of Poverty and Inequality Analysis Notable works by Tony Atkinson and Amartya Sen in the 1970s sparked a huge discussion on how exactly to measure inequality and poverty. Relatedly, this was the period when interaction with the philosophical discourse of John Rawls and Robert Nozick enriched economists’ perspectives on distribution. Sen’s ‘capabilities’ approach has its origins in the debate on utilitarianism that was active in this period. The 1970s and early 1980s were also a time when economists began to make the conceptual leaps necessary to bring processes of social interaction to the understanding of economic phenomena in general, and poverty and inequality in particular.
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This note was uploaded on 02/02/2012 for the course HIST 101 taught by Professor Wormer during the Fall '08 term at Boise State.

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wider_0103 - World Institute for Development Economics...

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