Why Are Some People Poor?

Andy Sumner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
251 Downloads (Pure)


This article reviews the debate on the changing 'geography' or location of global poverty. Specifically, that most global poverty is concentrated in a set of populous countries that have transitioned from low income countries to middle income countries. The article argues that the shift in global poverty implies a questioning of the dominant theory of absolute poverty in all but the world's very poorest countries: that is, that poverty in developing countries is explicable at societal level by insufficient public and private resources to address absolute poverty. Instead, it is argued that a structural theory-meaning here a theory that takes account of questions of distribution-is increasingly relevant to most (but not all) of global poverty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-142
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Development Research
Issue number2
Early online date24 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • distribution
  • inequality
  • poverty


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