The Economics of Global Poverty


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January 5–7, 2015

An international conference to be held on the campus of Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts.


Thanks to the generosity of several ACE members there is some funding available to assist conference attendance by undergraduate and graduate students. If interested, please fill out this form, and do not register for the conference through the Eventbrite site.

“Most of the people in the world are poor, so if we knew the economics of being poor we would know much of the economics that really matters.” This opening sentence from T.W. Schultz’s 1979 Nobel Prize in Economics acceptance speech resonates equally today, as billions of people struggle on $2/day or less. With high-level policymaker attention returned to issues of poverty, leading economics departments have reprioritized empirical research on global poverty.

The economics of poverty is also of special interest to Christian scholars in light of Jesus’ repeated Gospel cautions (e.g., Matthew 25:40) that to ignore the suffering of others is an offense against God. An important window is opening within the academy, one through which Christian voices can be heard if they tap cutting-edge technical toolkits and effectively organize to advance cutting-edge Christian thought from within the discipline.

This conference draws together scholars and practitioners working on different aspects of the economics of global poverty, from theoretical to empirical work, at macro or micro scales of analysis. At the individual level, we aim to provide presenters with a high quality forum to enhance the professional and public visibility of their work. At a collective level, we aspire to help foster a community of scholars informed by the Gospels and committed to rigorous research that can inform responsible answers to pressing societal questions around poverty. The opportunity to promote an evidence-based, Gospel-motivated program of publicly-engaged scholarship is great at this moment in history.

The organizers (Chris Barrett of Cornell University and Stephen L. S. Smith of Gordon College) will select a program of 10-20 papers for presentation January 6-7, 2015. This event will kick-off following the conclusion of the ASSA annual meetings in Boston with a dinner Monday night, January 5, featuring keynote speaker David Beckmann (President, Bread for the World, and World Food Prize laureate). Selected paper sessions will run all day Tuesday, January 6, and all morning Wednesday, January 7, before a concluding luncheon featuring keynote speaker Bruce Wydick (University of San Francisco).

The organizers aim to produce an edited volume of selected conference papers, and will also edit a special issue of Faith & Economics featuring a selection of papers for those presenters who wish to participate (including the regular peer review process).

Co-sponsored by the Association of Christian Economists, Calvin College Summer Seminars and Gordon College.

For more information contact