Poverty, Inequality, and Policy

PADM-GP.2445, 3 points.


This course examines the nature and extent of poverty primarily in the U.S. but with a comparative perspective (developed countries in Europe). To start, this course will focus on how poverty is defined and measured. It will proceed to explore how conceptions of poverty are socially constructed and historically bounded; examine what the causes and consequences of poverty are and discuss how these are complex and interwoven; and show how people can experience poverty at different points in their life course—some groups experiencing poverty more so than others. This course will discuss the role of labor markets, family structure and social organization in shaping poverty. And finally, it will explore how social policies seek to ameliorate poverty and other forms of social disadvantage throughout the life course. But when thinking about how ‘successful’ social policies are at alleviating poverty, this course will demonstrate that ‘success’ is actually influenced by the conceptions of poverty adopted by policymakers in the first place.


CORE-GP.1018, CORE-GP.1011, and CORE-GP.1022 or URPL-GP.2660
Recommended Prerequisite: PADM-GP.2902 (or concurrently)

Semester Instructor Syllabus Link
Fall 2015Natasha StrassfeldSyllabus
Spring 2015Natasha StrassfeldSyllabus
Spring 2013Katherine M. O'ReganSyllabus
Fall 2011Syllabus
Spring 2011Katherine M. O'ReganSyllabus
Spring 2010Katherine M. O'ReganSyllabus
Spring 2010Katherine M. O'ReganSyllabus
Semester Instructor Evaluation Link
Fall 2015Natasha WilsonEvaluation
Spring 2015Natasha WilsonEvaluation
Fall 2013Rachel SwanerEvaluation
Fall 2013Caitlyn T BrazillEvaluation
Spring 2013Katherine M. O'ReganEvaluation
Puck with Street Sign