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Mutual Interdependence between Elites and the Poor


  • Chipiliro Kalebe-Nyamongo


There has been a growing recognition among scholars that politics matters in the distribution of resources in society. However, attempts to use a political economy ‘lens’ with which to explore causes of poverty and strategies for poverty alleviation have largely ignored elites. By failing to embrace the crucial role elites play in the implementation of pro-poor policy, existing research has not produced a holistic understanding of the underlying factors which inhibit or promote action towards propoor policy. Historical accounts of the evolution of welfare states in the UK and USA inform us that elites prioritization of poverty reduction is driven by the extent to which elites and the poor are interdependent, such that the presence of the poor has a positive or negative impact on elite welfare. Drawing on research into elite views of poverty and the poor in Malawi, this paper argues that in formulating effective, responsive, and comprehensive strategies for poverty reduction, the role of elites must be considered in addition to the adoption of democratic, economic, and social institutions.

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  • Chipiliro Kalebe-Nyamongo, 2010. "Mutual Interdependence between Elites and the Poor," WIDER Working Paper Series 117, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2010-117

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lundvall, Bengt-Ake, 2009. "The Danish Model and the Globalizing Learning Economy: Lessons for Developing Countries," WIDER Working Paper Series 018, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
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    Cited by:

    1. Cornelias Ncube, 2013. "The 2013 Elections in Zimbabwe: End of an Era for Human Rights Discourse?," Africa Spectrum, Institute of African Affairs, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 48(1), pages 99-110.
    2. Emmie Chanika & John L. Lwanda & Adamson S. Muula, 2013. "Gender, Gays and Gain: The Sexualised Politics of Donor Aid in Malawi," Africa Spectrum, Institute of African Affairs, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 48(1), pages 89-105.

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    Malawi; elites; politics of poverty; pro-poor policy;

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