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The economics of poverty traps and persistent poverty: An asset-based approach

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  • Michael Carter
  • Christopher Barrett

Abstract

Longitudinal data on household living standards open the way to a deeper analysis of the nature and extent of poverty. While a number of studies have exploited this type of data to distinguish transitory from more chronic forms of income or expenditure poverty, this paper develops an asset-based approach to poverty analysis that makes it possible to distinguish deep-rooted, persistent structural poverty from poverty that passes naturally with time due to systemic growth processes. Drawing on the economic theory of poverty traps and bifurcated accumulation strategies, this paper briefly discusses some feasible estimation strategies for empirically identifying poverty traps and long-term, persistent structural poverty, as well as relevant extensions of the popular Foster-Greer-Thorbecke class of poverty measures. The paper closes with reflections on how asset-based poverty can be used to underwrite the design of persistent poverty reduction strategies.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Carter & Christopher Barrett, 2006. "The economics of poverty traps and persistent poverty: An asset-based approach," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 178-199.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:42:y:2006:i:2:p:178-199
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380500405261
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