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The Memberships Theory of Poverty: The Role of Group Affiliations in Determining Socioeconomic Outcomes

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  • S. N. Durlauf

Abstract

This paper describes a particular perspective on the causes of poverty: a memberships based theory. The idea of this theory is that an individual's socioeconomic prospects are strongly influenced by the groups to which he is attached over the course of his life. Such groups may be endogenous; examples include residential neighborhoods, schools and firms. Other groups are exogenous, including ethnicity and gender. I describe the main ideas of the memberships theory, characterize the empirical evidence in its support, and remark on its implications for anti-poverty policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty in its series Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers with number 1221-01.

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Handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1221-01

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Cited by:
  1. Steven N. Durlauf, 2002. "On the Empirics of Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 459-479, November.
  2. Lena Lindahl, 2011. "A comparison of family and neighborhood effects on grades, test scores, educational attainment and income—evidence from Sweden," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 207-226, June.
  3. Edgar Carrera, 2012. "Imitation and evolutionary stability of poverty traps," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 1-20, April.
  4. Drake, Brett & Rank, Mark R., 2009. "The racial divide among American children in poverty: Reassessing the importance of neighborhood," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(12), pages 1264-1271, December.
  5. Basu, Kaushik, 2006. "Teacher Truancy in India: The Role of Culture, Norms and Economic Incentives," Working Papers 06-03, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  6. Basu, Kaushik, 2006. "Participatory Equity, Identity, and Productivity: Policy Implications for Promoting Development," Working Papers 06-06, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  7. Barrett, Christopher B. & Swallow, Brent M., 2006. "Fractal poverty traps," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 1-15, January.
  8. Emran, M. Shabe & Otsuka, Misuzu & Shilpi, Forhad, 2003. "Gender, generations, and nonfarm participation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3087, The World Bank.

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