Challenging Global Inequality

Development theory and practice in the 21st century

by Alastair Greig, David Hulme, and Mark Turner

Chapter by chapter resources - Chapter 2

Review Questions

  • Does inequality play a key role in the processes that maintain poverty?
  • What do development theorists and practitioners mean when they talk about inequality and poverty?
  • Is development largely about reducing absolute poverty or should it also be about reducing inequality?
  • Can greater equity be achieved through developing countries ‘catching up’ economically or is redistribution (from rich to poor countries) and levelling down needed?
  • Describe the different ways that the idea of poverty is described in Chapter 2.
  • List a range of quantifiable and non-quantifiable dimensions of inequality.
  • What is the relationship between power and inequality?
  • Why is it easier to study equality of outcomes than equality of opportunity?
  • What advantages are there in measuring individual inequalities rather than household inequalities?
  • How do structuralists tend to approach the issue of inequality?
  • Why might an emphasis on poverty rather than inequality lead to a focus on symptoms of poverty rather than its underlying causes?
  • What advantage is there in understanding poverty from the more ‘objective’ perspective of the researcher? Or from the more ‘subjective’ vantage point of the person designated poor?
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of analysing poverty from broad and narrow perspectives.
  • What problems are associated with using poverty in a relative sense?
  • What measurement problems are associated with poverty lines?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of individualist approaches to poverty and inequality?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of structuralist approaches to poverty and inequality?

Further Reading

CPRC (2004), The Chronic Poverty Report 2004/05, Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), University of Manchester, UK.

Lister, R. (2004), Poverty, Cambridge, Polity Press.

Lummis, C.D. (1992), ‘Equality’, in W. Sachs (ed.), The Development Dictionary. London, Zed Press.

Ortiz, I. (2006) 'Poverty reduction and development governance', in A.S. Huque and H. Zafarullah (eds)International Development Governance, Boca Raton, Taylor and Francis, pp221-235.

Pogge, T. (2002), World Poverty and Human Rights: Cosmopolitan Responsibilities and Reform, Cambridge, Polity Press.

Saunders, P. (2005), The Poverty Wars, Sydney, University of New South Wales Press.

Sen, A.K. (2001), Development as Freedom, Oxford, Oxford University Press.


Make Poverty History: The Chronic Poverty Research Centre is an international collaboration involving various universities and non-government organizations:

The United Nations Development Programme contains a wealth of reports on development, equity and poverty alleviation:

The UNDP also has a special site devoted to their annual Human Development Report:

The Development Gateway also gathers excellent internet resources on poverty:

The Eldis Gateway to Development Information is also very comprehensive:

The homepage of the journal Development:

Professor Amartya Sen is the President of The Human Development and Capability Association: