Student Pages
Undergraduate course

Challenges of Global Poverty

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeECON217
  • Number of semesters1
  • Language  English
  • Resources

Main content

Level of Study


Teaching semester


Objectives and Content

This course aims at helping students better understand the lives of the world's poor and explore scopes for policies to help improve the their wellbeing.

The key questions addressed here are:

  • The nature and distribution of poverty across regions and countries of the world.
  • The causes of persistent/chronic poverty.
  • The progress that has been made so far on the millennium declaration of "making poverty a thing of the past"
  • The question of whether poverty alleviation be left to the forces of free market or whether there be a role for policy.
  • What the empirical findings say about which policies are successful and which are not.
  • The role of institution building in the fight against poverty.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


 The student..

  • knows the key facts about the worldwide incidence of poverty.
  • has a comprehensive understanding of the theories of what causes persistent/chronic poverty, for example, the theories of:

- the "poverty trap" model

- the absence of a market for credit, insurance and savings leading to lack of investment

- weak institutions leading to ineffective policies

  • knows the basics of modern methodology for evaluating poverty policies.


The student

  • knows how to numerically calculate and graphically represent (when appropriate) various measures of poverty, inequality and human-development
  • is able to apply various tools of analyses learned in this course to explain outcomes pertaining to poverty.

 General competence

The student

  • is able to understand and critically evaluate relevant academic literature.

Required Previous Knowledge


Recommended Previous Knowledge

ECON110, ECON130 and ECON140

Access to the Course


Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and seminars

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

One compulsory assignment that has to be approved before the student can take the exam.

Approved compulsory requirements do not have time limits.

The grade for the course is based on the written examination provided that the students have passed the assignment.

Compulsory assignments that are not accepted on the first try, may be handed in a second time. To be able to get this opportunity, the student must have made a sincere effort the first time around; that is, the student must have tried to answer most of the assignment.

Forms of Assessment

4 hours written exam

Examination Support Material

Mathematical Formula Collection of K Sydsæter, A. Strøm and P. Berck or Mathematical Formulas for Economists of B Luderer, V. Nollau and K. Vetters and calculator. The following simple, non-programmable calculators without graphical display are allowed to be used for written tests:

All models of the type:

  • Casio FX-82, Casio FX-82ES PLUS or Casio FX-82EX
  • Hewlett-Packard HP30
  • Texas Instruments TI-30

The Department of Economics can conduct a sample of aids in the examination room.

Grading Scale


Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester. New exam the following semester only for students who have a valid document of absence.

Course Evaluation

All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.


Department of Economics


Exam information