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The Economics of Poverty and Global Inequalities


Admission requirements

This course is part of Sustainability, Climate Change and Food and therefore only accessible to students enrolled in that Minor.


The first goal of the Sustainable Development Goals is to eradicate poverty- not just income poverty, but poverty in all its forms and dimensions (SDG 1.2). This course will examine how people around the world deal with food poverty, the role of food production and consumption in poverty, and the contemporary initiatives that are challenging global and local food regimes.

Students will discover concepts such as food security, food justice, food desserts, food choice and food sovereignty and explore distinctions and linkages between these concepts. Different definitions and measurements of food poverty will be explored. Students will also explore how food deprivation is linked to other forms of deprivation ultimately leading to multidimensional poverty.

This course will investigate why and how food is fundamental to politico-economic discourses, as well as why we should care about the equitable distribution of food. The primary objectives of this course are to comprehend the extent and persistence of food poverty in various regions of the world, as well as to evaluate workable alternatives to this "glocal" problem.

Course Objectives

  • Understand various concepts and definitions relating to food poverty and inequalities in food access, production and consumption

  • Apply different economic theories to food poverty and inequality

  • Examine different measurement approaches to poverty and inequality with a focus on food

  • Explore the multidimensional nature of poverty and the central role of food

  • Understand the political economy of food in less developed settings

  • Explore workable alternatives to reduce/eradicate food poverty and reduce inequalities

  • Connect theory to practice in combatting food poverty


TBA; information will be published before May 2023.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

  • Virtual guest speakers

  • In-class group activities

Assessment Method

This course will be based on two assessments.

Creative practical assignment

  • 30 % of final grade

  • Grade must be 5,5 or higher to pass the course

  • Resit of a fail is possible

  • Resit will take the same form

Final exam – combination of multiple choice and open questions

  • 70% of final grade

  • Grade must be 5,5 or higher to pass the course

  • Resit of a fail is possible

  • Resit will take the same form

Reading list

The links for the relevant readings for this course will be provided indicated in the syllabus. All readings will be available via the Leiden library.


Registration starts early May. Additional information TBA.