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The Bottom of the Pyramid Strategy for Reducing Poverty: A Failed Promise

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  • Aneel Karnani
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    Abstract

    The movement emphasizing free markets to reduce poverty has found strong expression in the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ approach in recent years. It views the poor as “resilient and creative entrepreneurs and value-conscious consumers”. This romanticized view of the poor harms the poor in two ways. First, it results in too little emphasis on legal, regulatory and social mechanisms to protect the poor who are vulnerable consumers. Second, it overemphasizes microcredit and underemphasizes fostering modern enterprises that would provide employment opportunities for the poor. More importantly, it grossly underemphasizes the critical role and responsibility of the state in poverty reduction.

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    File URL: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2009/wp80_2009.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs in its series Working Papers with number 80.

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    Length: 14 pages
    Date of creation: Aug 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:une:wpaper:80

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    Web page: http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/working-papers.html
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    Keywords: Poverty reduction; bottom of pyramid; consumption choices; micro-entrepreneurs;

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    1. Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," Working Paper Series rwp04-029, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2007. "The Economic Lives of the Poor," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 141-168, Winter.
    3. Fafchamps, Marcel & Shilpi, Forhad, 2006. "Subjective Welfare, Isolation and Relative Consumption," CEPR Discussion Papers 6002, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:
    1. Baumuller, Heike & Husmann, Christine Ladenburger & von Braun, Joachim, 2011. "Innovative business approaches for the reduction of extreme poverty and marginality?," Working Papers 147921, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).

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