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Do poverty traps exist ?

Listed author(s):
  • Kraay, Aart
  • McKenzie, David

This paper reviews the empirical evidence on the existence of poverty traps, understood as self-reinforcing mechanisms through which poor individuals or countries remain poor. Poverty traps have captured the interest of many development policy makers, because poverty traps provide a theoretically coherent explanation for persistent poverty. They also suggest that temporary policy interventions may have long-term effects on poverty. However, a review of the reduced-form empirical evidence suggests that truly stagnant incomes of the sort predicted by standard models of poverty traps are in fact quite rare. Moreover, the empirical evidence regarding several canonical mechanisms underlying models of poverty traps is mixed.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6835.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2014
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6835
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  17. Oriana Bandiera & Robin Burgess & Narayan Das & Selim Gulesci & Imran Rasul & Munshi Sulaiman, 2013. "Can Basic Entrepreneurship Transform the Economic Lives of the Poor?," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 043, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
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