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Adolescents' understanding of poverty and the poor in rural Malaysia

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  • Halik, Murnizam
  • Webley, Paul
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    Abstract

    The aim of this research was to explore Malaysian adolescents' perception of poverty and the poor. The data consisted of 79 semi-structured interviews with school children aged 12-13 and 15-16 years old from rural and urban areas in Sabah, Malaysia. According to them, poverty is mainly economic. Their responses about the causes of poverty can be categorised as individualistic, structural, fatalistic and other factors (such as age, geography, land and encouragement). Older respondents from rural and urban areas gave more individualistic and structural attributions compared to the younger respondents. While they believed that government is most responsible to help the poor, other parties such as the poor, public and NGO's should also work together to alleviate poverty. They suggested that these parties can contribute in terms of donation, infrastructural improvement, education, attitudinal change and job opportunities. Respondents acknowledged that hard work and education are important to improve their standard of living. However, education is regarded as a ticket to seek their fortune elsewhere. These results emphasised the need for the Malay adolescents to learn about not being dependent on the government for employment in order to avoid mass urban migration in the near future.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

    Volume (Year): 32 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 231-239

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:2:p:231-239

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

    Related research

    Keywords: Adolescents' perception Understanding of poverty Attribution for poverty;

    References

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    1. Glewwe, Paul & van der Gaag, Jacques, 1990. "Identifying the poor in developing countries: Do different definitions matter?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 803-814, June.
    2. Lyck, Lise, 1990. "Danish children's and their parents' economic understanding, reasoning and attitudes," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 583-590, December.
    3. Harrah, Jacklyn & Friedman, Monroe, 1990. "Economic socialization in children in a midwestern American community," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 495-513, December.
    4. Bonn, Marta & Earle, Dave & Lea, Stephen & Webley, Paul, 1999. "South African children's views of wealth, poverty, inequality and unemployment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 593-612, October.
    5. Matthew O. Hunt, 2004. "Race/Ethnicity and Beliefs about Wealth and Poverty," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 85(3), pages 827-853.
    6. Zabukovec, Vlasta & Polic, Marko, 1990. "Yugoslavian children in a situation of rapid economic changes," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 529-543, December.
    7. Kirchler, Erich & Praher, Doris, 1990. "Austrian children's economic socialization: Age differences," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 483-494, December.
    8. Payne, Monica & Furnham, Adrian, 1985. "Explaining the causes of poverty in the West Indies: A cross-cultural comparison," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 215-229, September.
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