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Selecting Among Anti-Poverty Policies: Can an Economist be Both Critical and Caring?

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  • Rebecca Blank

Abstract

The first part of this paper reviews five major theoretical approaches that describe the fundamental causes of poverty, with particular attention to what these theories imply about government policy towards markets and the need for immediate poverty alleviation. Different causal theories have very different policy implications; it is difficult to recommend specific anti-poverty policies with making assumptions about the nature of economic markets and of individual behavior. The paper ends with comments about how to make these choices, arguing that the greater moral onus one associates with poverty, the more willing one should be to adopt less efficient strategies that do more to raise incomes among the poor. The interconnections between markets and social and political systems—which often disadvantage poor populations—suggests that some market regulations and targeted programs may be necessary to reduce poverty, especially if these can be implemented with minimal corruption and monitored for effectiveness.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca Blank, 2003. "Selecting Among Anti-Poverty Policies: Can an Economist be Both Critical and Caring?," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 61(4), pages 447-469.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:61:y:2003:i:4:p:447-469
    DOI: 10.1080/0034676032000160949
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Akee, Randall K. Q. & Copeland, William & Keeler, Gordon & Angold, Adrian & Costello, Jane E., 2008. "Parents’ Incomes and Children’s Outcomes: A Quasi-Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 3520, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. David Chavanne & Kevin A. McCabe & Maria Pia Paganelli, 2015. "Are Self-Made Men Made Equally? An Experimental Test of Impartial Redistribution and Perceptions of Self-Determination," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 40, pages 1-3.
    3. Birhanu, Mulugeta Y. & Ambaw, Birhanu & Mulu, Yohannis, 2017. "Dynamics of multidimensional child poverty and its triggers: Evidence from Ethiopia using Multilevel Mixed Effect Model," MPRA Paper 79377, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    Keywords

    Poverty; income distribution; market systems; policy;

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