Global Poverty and the Law


Course Code:
LAW 5025
Law Mixed H/P/R/F or MP/R/F


With more than a billion people living on less than $2 a day, global poverty is one of the biggest challenges currently facing humanity. Even though those who suffer the most are located in the developing world, many of the policies, economic opportunities, and legal actions that offer the biggest potential for global poverty alleviation are made in the United States. This course will provide an introduction to the study of global poverty. What causes poverty? Why have some parts of the developing world done better at alleviating poverty than other parts? Can the world ever be free of poverty, as the World Bank's official motto suggests? And most importantly, what can aspiring lawyers do to improve the condition of the world's impoverished? These are some of the questions this course is designed to address. This course is designed especially for future lawyers and policymakers who seek a deeper understanding of the developing world. After a brief overview that will familiarize students with the major concepts and empirical debates in poverty and development studies, we will examine a variety of 'causes' of poverty, from poor governance to lack of economic opportunity to the role of society. Since this course is just as much about what can be done, we shall also consider applied approaches to poverty alleviation. These types of interventions include political/legal reforms such as anti-corruption initiatives, 'rule of law' interventions, right to information programs, privatization, and community-driven development models; economic solutions such as cash transfers and microfinance; and technological approaches such as new methods for measuring policy impact and the application of new technologies for state identification and distribution programs. In addition to more typical scholarly readings, students will review poverty alleviation policy proposals and contracts made by various stakeholders (academics, NGOs, states, international bodies, etc.). Grading is based on participation, a presentation of research or a proposal, and, in consultation with the professor, a research paper. The research paper may be a group project (Section 01) graded MP/R/F or an individual in-depth research proposal either of which could be the basis for future field research (Section 02) graded H/P/R/F. Students approved for Section 01 or Section 02 may receive R credit. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from Section 01 into Section 02 with consent of the instructor. Automatic grading penalty waived for research paper. This course is taught in conjunction with the India Field Study component (Law 5026). Students may enroll for this course alone or for both this course and Law 5026 with consent of the instructor (12 students will come to India). See Law 5026 for application instructions. CONSENT APPLICATION: To apply for this course, students must complete and submit a Consent Application Form available on the SLS website (Click Courses at the bottom of the homepage and then click Consent of Instructor Forms). See Consent Application Form for instructions and submission deadline. Cross-listed with International Policy Studies (IPS 281).

Current Offerings

2017-2018 Winter

Global Poverty and the Law LAW 5025 Section 01 Class #20417

  • 3 Units
  • Enrollment Limitations: Consent 18
    • 1L Winter Elective

Notes: Cross-listed with International Policy Studies (IPS 281). R -Research Requirement for Law Degree. Open to First-Year JD Students.

  • Tue Thu
  • Room: Law272

Global Poverty and the Law LAW 5025 Section 02 Class #31319

  • 3 Units
  • Enrollment Limitations: Consent
    • 1L Winter Elective

Notes: R -Research Requirement for Law Degree. Open to First-Year JD Students.

  • Tue Thu
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