Theories of Global Poverty


In September 2000, participants in the United Nations Millennium Summit made a commitment to alleviating global poverty and inequality through the Millennium Development goals. This historical pledge has raised public and academic awareness of the issue of global poverty. In light of this interest, this literature review seeks to clarify the issues surrounding global poverty by focusing on the developed world and the developing world. Given the substantial amount of interdisciplinary research on global poverty, it can be organized into at least four areas: poverty definitions, units of measurement, theories concerning resources, and findings on effective interventions. It is clear that context influences these four areas and the resulting theories relate to: (1) inclusion, exclusion, and access; (2) individual rights and responsibilities versus community focus; (3) human capital theories, structural poverty, and resource inequality; and (4) theories of welfare versus theories of development. This analysis of these four theoretical domains concludes with a conceptual framework for understanding of global poverty and the influence of the social environment on human behavior.

Morazes, J.
Pintak, I.
Publication date: 
October 12, 2008
Publication type: 
Journal Article