IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/dur/durham/2017_06.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Success, Survive or Escape? Aspirations and Poverty Traps

Author

Listed:
  • David Chivers

    (Durham Business School)

Abstract

I present a model of occupational choice where an agent decides whether to invest in a project that yields risky returns or a project that yields safe returns. An agentís utility is affected by the presence of an aspiration level which will only be satisÖed if their Önal income is above the poverty line. I show that agents who are sufficiently above the poverty line will invest in the risky project and are able to aspire for success. An agent, however, who is just above the poverty line, may be so concerned about falling into poverty that they choose to invest in the safe project. These individuals aspire only to survive. Alternatively, if an agent is su¢ ciently below the poverty line, then they will invest in the risky project even if expected returns are lower than the safe project. These individuals have "nothing left to lose" and therefore aspire to escape. Two forms of poverty traps emerge from the resulting equilibria: one above the poverty line, and one below the poverty line. Finally, I o§er empirical support for the model based on individual level survey data across a large number of ountries.Keywords: Poverty Traps, Entrepreneurship, Aspirations, Loss aversion, Development

Suggested Citation

  • David Chivers, 2017. "Success, Survive or Escape? Aspirations and Poverty Traps," Working Papers 2017_06, Durham University Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:dur:durham:2017_06
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/business/working-papers/EconWP17_06.pdf
    File Function: main text
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Mezias, Stephen J., 1988. "Aspiration level effects: An empirical investigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 389-400, December.
    3. Thomas Åstebro & Jing Chen & Peter Thompson, 2011. "Stars and Misfits: Self-Employment and Labor Market Frictions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(11), pages 1999-2017, November.
    4. António Antunes & Tiago Cavalcanti & Anne Villamil, 2015. "The effects of credit subsidies on development," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 58(1), pages 1-30, January.
    5. Pasquier-Doumer, Laure & Risso Brandon, Fiorella, 2015. "Aspiration Failure: A Poverty Trap for Indigenous Children in Peru?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 208-223.
    6. Zoltan J. Acs & Attila Varga, 2008. "Entrepreneurship, Agglomeration and Technological Change," Chapters, in: Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy, chapter 24, pages 341-352, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Debraj Ray & Arthur Robson, 2012. "Status, Intertemporal Choice, and Risk‐Taking," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(4), pages 1505-1531, July.
    8. Karen Macours & Renos Vakis, 2014. "Changing Households' Investment Behaviour through Social Interactions with Local Leaders: Evidence from a Randomised Transfer Programme," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(576), pages 607-633, May.
    9. Mariacristina De Nardi & Phil Doctor & Spencer D. Krane, 2007. "Evidence on entrepreneurs in the United States: data from the 1989–2004 survey of consumer finances," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, vol. 31(Q IV), pages 18-36.
    10. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12016 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Azariadis, Costas & Stachurski, John, 2005. "Poverty Traps," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, Elsevier.
    12. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-298, April.
    13. Omer Moav & Zvika Neeman, 2010. "Status and Poverty," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 413-420, 04-05.
    14. Neus Herranz & Stefan Krasa & Anne P. Villamil, 2015. "Entrepreneurs, Risk Aversion, and Dynamic Firms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(5), pages 1133-1176.
    15. Sander Wennekers & André Stel & Roy Thurik & Paul Reynolds, 2008. "Nascent entrepreneurship and the level of economic development," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 325-325, March.
    16. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    17. Thomas Piketty, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 64(2), pages 173-189.
    18. Dilip Mookherjee & Stefan Napel & Debraj Ray, 2010. "Aspirations, Segregation, and Occupational Choice," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(1), pages 139-168, March.
    19. Patricio S. Dalton & Sayantan Ghosal & Anandi Mani, 2016. "Poverty and Aspirations Failure," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(590), pages 165-188, February.
    20. Karen Macours & Renos Vakis, 2014. "Changing Households' Investment Behaviour through Social Interactions with Local Leaders: Evidence from a Randomised Transfer Programme," Post-Print halshs-01313720, HAL.
    21. Daniel Kahneman & Amos Tversky, 2013. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Leonard C MacLean & William T Ziemba (ed.), HANDBOOK OF THE FUNDAMENTALS OF FINANCIAL DECISION MAKING Part I, chapter 6, pages 99-127, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    22. Azariadis, Costas, 1996. "The Economics of Poverty Traps: Part One: Complete Markets," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 449-496, December.
    23. Keith Blackburn & David Chivers, 2015. "Fearing the worst: the importance of uncertainty for inequality," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 60(2), pages 345-370, October.
    24. Thomas Langer & Martin Weber, 2001. "Prospect Theory, Mental Accounting, and Differences in Aggregated and Segregated Evaluation of Lottery Portfolios," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(5), pages 716-733, May.
    25. Christopher D. Carroll, 2001. "A Theory of the Consumption Function, with and without Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 23-45, Summer.
    26. Enrico Diecidue & Jeroen van de Ven, 2008. "Aspiration Level, Probability Of Success And Failure, And Expected Utility," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(2), pages 683-700, May.
    27. Tanguy Bernard & Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse, 2014. "Editor's choice Aspirations: An Approach to Measurement with Validation Using Ethiopian Data," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies, vol. 23(2), pages 189-224.
    28. Lin, Zhengxi & Picot, Garnett & Compton, Janice, 2000. "The Entry and Exit Dynamics of Self-Employment in Canada," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 105-125, September.
    29. Holthausen, Duncan M, 1981. "A Risk-Return Model with Risk and Return Measured as Deviations from a Target Return," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(1), pages 182-188, March.
    30. Francesco Bogliacino & Iván González-Gallo, 2015. "Aspirations, Prospect Theory and entrepreneurship: evidence from Colombia," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 62(3), pages 271-290, September.
    31. Stephen J. Mezias & Ya-Ru Chen & Patrice R. Murphy, 2002. "Aspiration-Level Adaptation in an American Financial Services Organization: A Field Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(10), pages 1285-1300, October.
    32. John Payne, 2005. "It is Whether You Win or Lose: The Importance of the Overall Probabilities of Winning or Losing in Risky Choice," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 5-19, January.
    33. Tanguy Bernard & Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse, 2014. "Aspirations: An approach to measurement with validation using ethiopian data," Post-Print hal-03022496, HAL.
    34. Barton H. Hamilton, 2000. "Does Entrepreneurship Pay? An Empirical Analysis of the Returns to Self-Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 604-631, June.
    35. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Poverty, ambition & reference levels
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2017-05-25 17:12:17

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Sung Soo Lim, 2020. "The Effects of Chronic Illness on Aspirations and Subjective Wellbeing," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 21(5), pages 1771-1793, June.
    2. Pankaj C. Patel & Cornelius A. Rietveld & Jack I. Richter, 2022. "The relation between public assistance and self-employment in census tracts: a long-term perspective," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 891-927, July.
    3. Sung Soo Lim & Jongwook Lee, 2022. "Aspirations, Human Capital Investment, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty in Indonesia," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 162(1), pages 377-412, July.
    4. Tabe-Ojong, Martin Paul Jr. & Nshakira-Rukundo, Emmanuel, 2021. "Religiosity and parental educational aspirations for children in Kenya," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 23(C).
    5. Jing Liu & Fubin Huang & Zihan Wang & Chuanmin Shuai & Jiaxin Li, 2020. "Understanding the Role of Rural Poor’s Endogenous Impetus in Poverty Reduction: Evidence from China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(6), pages 1-16, March.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Keith Blackburn & David Chivers, 2015. "Fearing the worst: the importance of uncertainty for inequality," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 60(2), pages 345-370, October.
    2. Tabe-Ojong, Jr., Martin Paul & Godana, Guyo, 2022. "Are Agro-clusters Pro-Poor? Evidence from Ethiopia," 2022 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Anaheim, California 322432, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Tabe-Ojong, Martin Paul Jr & Heckelei, Thomas & Rasch, Sebastian, 2022. "Aspirations and Investments in Livestock: Evidence of an aspiration failure in Kenya," 2022 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Anaheim, California 322435, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Sung Soo Lim & Jongwook Lee, 2022. "Aspirations, Human Capital Investment, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty in Indonesia," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 162(1), pages 377-412, July.
    5. Jeffrey R. Bloem, 2021. "Aspirations and investments in rural Myanmar," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 19(4), pages 727-752, December.
    6. Janzen, Sarah A. & Magnan, Nicholas & Sharma, Sudhindra & Thompson, William M., 2017. "Aspirations failure and formation in rural Nepal," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 1-25.
    7. Martin Paul Jr. Tabe‐Ojong & Thomas Heckelei & Sebastian Rasch, 2023. "Aspirations and investments in livestock: Evidence of aspiration failure in Kenya," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 54(5), pages 674-696, September.
    8. Enrico Diecidue & Jeroen Van De Ven, 2008. "Aspiration Level, Probability Of Success And Failure, And Expected Utility," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(2), pages 683-700, May.
    9. Azariadis, Costas & Stachurski, John, 2005. "Poverty Traps," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, Elsevier.
    10. Tabe-Ojong, Martin Paul Jr & Heckelei, Thomas & Baylis, Kathy, 2020. "Collective action and smallholder rural households: Implications for income and asset aspirations," 2020 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, Kansas City, Missouri 304580, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    11. Debraj Ray, 2000. "What's New in Development Economics?," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 44(2), pages 3-16, October.
    12. Vincenzo Lombardo, 2008. "Income distribution and Growth: A Critical Survey," Working Papers 11_2008, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    13. Shakra, R., 2018. "Aspirations and Farmers Investment Choices - An Investigation of Aspirations Failure in South Africa," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277177, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    14. Thomas Leoni & Wolfgang Pollan, 2003. "The Impact of Inequality on Economic Growth," WIFO Working Papers 211, WIFO.
    15. Jiang, Neville & Wang, Ping & Wu, Haibin, 2010. "Ability-heterogeneity, entrepreneurship, and economic growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 522-541, March.
    16. K. Wälde & M. Kemp & M. Perlman & R. Disney & D. Checchi & M. Vendrik & J. Hölscher, 1999. "Book reviews," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 69(2), pages 189-216, June.
    17. Mdingi, Kholeka & Ho, Sin-Yu, 2023. "Income inequality and economic growth: An empirical investigation in South Africa," MPRA Paper 117733, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Dagmara Celik Katreniak & Alexey Khazanov & Omer Moav & Zvika Neeman & Hosny Zoabi, 2023. "Why Not Borrow, Invest, and Escape Poverty?," Papers 2305.02546, arXiv.org.
    19. Tabe-Ojong, Martin Paul Jr. & Nshakira-Rukundo, Emmanuel, 2021. "Religiosity and parental educational aspirations for children in Kenya," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 23(C).
    20. Raghunathan, Kalyani & Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Kumar, Neha & Cunningham, Kenda, 2018. "Women’s aspirations for the future, and their financial, social and educational investments," IFPRI discussion papers 1752, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    poverty traps; entrepreneurship; aspirations; loss aversion; development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dur:durham:2017_06. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: IT Office (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/deduruk.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.