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Social Network Capital, Economic Mobility and Poverty Traps

Listed author(s):
  • Chantarat, Sommarat
  • Barrett, Christopher B.

The paper explores the role social network capital might play in facilitating poor agents’ escape from poverty traps. We model endogenous network formation among households heterogeneously endowed with both traditional and social network capital who make investment and technology choices over time in the absence of financial markets and faced with multiple production technologies featuring different fixed costs and returns. We show that social network capital can serve as either a complement to or a substitute for productive assets in facilitating some poor households’ escape from poverty. However, the voluntary nature of costly social network formation also creates both involuntary and voluntary exclusionary mechanisms that impede some poor households’ efforts to exit poverty. The ameliorative potential of social networks therefore depends fundamentally on the underlying wealth distribution in the economy. In some settings, targeted public transfers to the poor can crowd-in private resources by inducing new social links that the poor can exploit to escape from poverty.

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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/1947/1/MPRA_paper_1947.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 1947.

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Date of creation: 14 Feb 2007
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:1947
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  1. Marcel Fafchamps, 2004. "Market Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262062364, December.
  2. Santos, Paulo & Barrett, Christopher B., 2010. "Identity, Interest and Information Search in a Dynamic Rural Economy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(12), pages 1788-1796, December.
  3. Walter Bossert & Conchita D'Ambrosio & Vito Peragine, 2007. "Deprivation and Social Exclusion," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(296), pages 777-803, November.
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  7. Marcel Fafchamps & Bart Minten, 2001. "Social Capital and Agricultural Trade," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(3), pages 680-685.
  8. 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.
  9. Dutta, Bhaskar & Ghosal, Sayantan & Ray, Debraj, 2005. "Farsighted network formation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 143-164, June.
  10. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1995. "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1176-1209, December.
  11. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
  12. Cox, Donald & Hansen, Bruce E. & Jimenez, Emmanuel, 2004. "How responsive are private transfers to income? Evidence from a laissez-faire economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2193-2219, August.
  13. Timothy Conley & Udry Christopher, 2001. "Social Learning Through Networks: The Adoption of New Agricultural Technologies in Ghana," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(3), pages 668-673.
  14. Dutta, Bhaskar & Mutuswami, Suresh, 1997. "Stable Networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 322-344, October.
    • Dutta, Bhaskar & Mutuswami, Suresh, 1996. "Stable Networks," Working Papers 971, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  15. Santos, Paulo & Barrett, Christopher B., 2004. "Interest And Identity In Network Formation," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 19920, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  16. Satya R. Chakravarty & Conchita D'Ambrosio, 2006. "The Measurement Of Social Exclusion," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(3), pages 377-398, 09.
  17. Durlauf, Steven N. & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2005. "Social Capital," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1639-1699 Elsevier.
  18. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1989. "Industrialization and the Big Push," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1003-1026, October.
  19. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Rahmi İlkılıç, 2009. "Pairwise-stability and Nash equilibria in network formation," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 38(1), pages 51-79, March.
  20. Steven N. Durlauf, 1993. "Nonergodic Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(2), pages 349-366.
  21. Hideo Konishi & M. Utku Ünver, 2003. "Credible Group Stability in Multi-Partner Matching Problems," Working Papers 2003.115, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  22. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-851, July.
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  24. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10091 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Durlauf, Steven N. & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2005. "Social Capital," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1639-1699 Elsevier.
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