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Empowerment as a zero-sum game

Author

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  • Knack, Stephen

Abstract

Empowerment of the poor does not necessarily make them better off – or make the non-poor worse off. In some cases, empowerment may be inefficient, i.e. a negative-sum game. In other cases, it is a zero-sum game, as the poor can benefit only at the expense of someone else. But in many cases, it can be positive-sum, and these opportunities should be identified and pursued by reformers. Attempts by donor organizations and NGOs to empower the poor should focus on means by which the poor are likely to be made better off without making others worse off. Not only is this approach consistent with efficiency, it will also often be the only politically feasible way to empower the poor.

Suggested Citation

  • Knack, Stephen, 2004. "Empowerment as a zero-sum game," MPRA Paper 28069, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:28069
    as

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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/28069/1/MPRA_paper_28069.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Swamy, Anand & Knack, Stephen & Lee, Young & Azfar, Omar, 2001. "Gender and corruption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 25-55, February.
    2. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    3. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
    4. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    5. David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221.
    6. Deepa Narayan, 2002. "Empowerment and Poverty Reduction : A Sourcebook," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15239.
    7. Grootaert,Christiaan & van Bastelaer,Thierry (ed.), 2002. "The Role of Social Capital in Development," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521812917, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    empowerment; development; poverty; inequality; institutinoal development; democracy;

    JEL classification:

    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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