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Roles of Social Conformity in Deviance in Poverty: A Study on Working Poverty and Educational Investment in Bangladesh


  • Biswa N. Bhattacharyay
  • Partha Gangopadhyay
  • Mustafa A. Rahman


In recent decades the Indian subcontinent has displayed remarkable invariance in the incidence of working poverty despite strong economic performance. It is widely held that education can rescue households from various types of poverty traps created by information problems and incorrect expectations. Yet very little is known about the motivation of the working poor in acquiring education. From a field study conducted in Bangladesh, this paper provides invaluable insights for the first time, to our best understanding, into the factors that shape the decision of a poor household to care about and respond to educational decisions of others in one’s community. Based on the "Choice-Theoretic Framework of Rational Emulation and Deviance", this paper empirically explains why some households choose to copy others, while some choose deviance even though social deviance in acquiring education can throw subjects into abject poverty. In particular, the paper examines the determinants of the (individual) educational expenditure of a household sheltering the working poor.

Suggested Citation

  • Biswa N. Bhattacharyay & Partha Gangopadhyay & Mustafa A. Rahman, 2013. "Roles of Social Conformity in Deviance in Poverty: A Study on Working Poverty and Educational Investment in Bangladesh," CESifo Working Paper Series 4395, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4395

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. George A. Akerlof, 1980. "A Theory of Social Custom, of which Unemployment may be One Consequence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-775.
    2. Arcidiacono, Peter & Nicholson, Sean, 2005. "Peer effects in medical school," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 327-350, February.
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    More about this item


    social conformity/copying; deviance; poverty; education; Asia; India and Bangladesh;

    JEL classification:

    • L00 - Industrial Organization - - General - - - General
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets


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