Postgraduate taught 

Environment & Sustainable Development MSc

The Economics Of Inequality And Deprivation ECON5030

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: Adam Smith Business School
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course analyses inequality and poverty from an economics perspective. A number of topics are discussed, including: the measurement of inequality and poverty using socio-economic data, the evolution of poverty and inequality over time, the causes and consequences of high economic inequality, policies for combating poverty.


Students are required to prepare in-class presentations based on book chapters and other readings to be defined in class.


One two-hour meeting per week for 10 weeks.


■ Coursework: group written assignment (35% of final grade for course)

■ Examination: two-hour end-of-course examination (65% of final grade for course).

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

Inequality is a subject of great importance in today's policy debates on economic development. This course will provide students with up to date knowledge on the current debates about inequality.

The aims of this co
urse are manifold:

1. To discuss the concept of inequality in economics and the different aspects in which it can manifest itself.

2. To study the different approaches to measuring inequality.

3. To discuss the diverse causes of inequality with particular attention to their empirical relevance.

4. To present some economic models linking inequality and economic growth, particularly through the channel of access to financial markets.

5. To analyse some consequences of the high degrees of inequality and deprivation in some parts of the world. We will study the occurrence of famines and the patterns of global migration.

6. To discuss the role of institutions in this context.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students should be able to:


1. Demonstrate understanding of how inequality and poverty are measured in practice.

2. Summarise important debates and topics from the literature on inequality and poverty, differentiating key concepts from lesser ones.

3. Contrast and criticise different elements of the existing literature on inequality and poverty.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.