. 12
( 13)


Maia Green

between different dimensions of extreme poverty and their diverse contextu-
ally determined causes. The concept of destitution provides a useful compari-
son. Unlike chronic poverty, which may or may not correspond to local cate-
gorizations, some variant of destitution is acknowledged as a state of extreme
poverty and social marginalization in many communities, often associated
with stigma and with certain social categories. Destitution is different from
extreme poverty. It is not a simple consequence of shortfalls in income, but
of the moral constitution of entitlements. Entitlements do not exist in the
abstract or within ideal institutional forms, despite capability theorizing, but
in the constitution of social orders as networks of moral relationships. The
content of relationships determines what different categories of person can
expect and the kind of values which are allocated to them. A shift in this
categorization, as demonstrated in the examples of witchcraft, shifts alloca-
tions and entitlements. The process of entitlement shifting is not con¬ned
to the use of witchcraft in contemporary Africa, but is central both to poverty
theory and to the kinds of policies which are intended to eliminate it. Because
allocative entitlements cannot be inclusively achieved through market insti-
tutions entitlement shifting and the reorganization of dependency inevitably
contribute to extreme poverty and destitution. Exploring destitution as a
social status and as the outcome of a social process highlights the centrality
of institutions in making differentiation endure. Intractable poverty is also
the result of social relations and ordering, not only in which certain people
are stigmatized and excluded from opportunity because they are poor, but in
the ways in which values are allocated in the global economy. Theorizing
durable, rather than chronic, poverty might convey the materiality of the
institutional factors which keep people poor, and highlight the importance
of social relations.


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Toward an Economic Sociology
of Chronic Poverty
Enhancing the Rigour and Relevance of Social Theory —
Michael Woolcock

The day is not far off when the economic problem will take the back seat
where it belongs, and the arena of the heart and the head will be occupied
or reoccupied, by our real problems”the problems of life and of human
relations, of creation and behaviour and religion.
John Maynard Keynes, First Annual Report of the Arts Council (1945“46)

15.1. Introduction

There is now broad agreement among scholars and practitioners alike that the
causes, manifestations, and consequences of poverty are multidimensional,
i.e. that poverty cannot be adequately de¬ned by very low income alone, but
can include various forms of exclusion and marginality from basic services,
labour and credit markets, citizenship claims, and agreed-upon human rights
provisions (Sen, 1999). As recent scholarship by historians (O™Connor, 2001;
Sherman, 2002; Jones, 2004) has shown, conceptions of poverty”i.e. of who
is, and who is not, poor 1 ”and their corresponding policy response strate-
gies have changed considerably over the centuries, even as many important

The views expressed in this chapter are those of the author alone, and should not be
attributed to the respective organizations (or their executive directors) with which he is
af¬liated. An early version of this chapter was presented at the CPRC™s ˜Concepts and Methods
for Analysing Poverty Dynamics and Chronic Poverty™ conference, held at the University of
Manchester in October 2006. I am grateful for the help received from participants at that
conference, and to David Hulme for encouraging me to explore the issues raised here.
See also Pritchett (2006) for an interesting discussion on who is not poor within the terms
of contemporary policy and empirical debates.

An Economic Sociology of Chronic Poverty

methodological debates continue about how best to measure poverty and
compare it across different contexts (Deaton, 2001; Iceland, 2005; Brady,
2006; Dercon, 2006), and assess the importance of economic growth to reduc-
ing it (Hausmann, Rodrik, and Pritchett, 2005; Kraay, 2005; Ravallion, 2006).
Many serious minds are dedicated to exploring and re¬ning these issues, and
I am not going to enter that fray, at least not here. For our present purposes,
I begin from the simple (and, I hope, relatively non-controversial) premiss
that poverty has many dimensions, that among these dimensions income is
centrally important, and that inclusive (˜pro-poor™ 2 ) economic growth policies
are necessary but insuf¬cient for reducing it.
This chapter, rather, focuses on both expanding and re¬ning the analyti-
cal scope of the ˜social™ (or non-economic) aspects of chronic poverty, and
thereby, I hope, enhancing efforts to respond more effectively to it. The
argument in this chapter proceeds as follows. In recognizing that poverty is
˜multidimensional™, today™s dominant policy discourses have actually made
important, if often underappreciated, steps to incorporate insights from social
and political theory, but these (hard-won) gains now need to be consoli-
dated, advanced, and sharpened. Three broad themes in non-economic social
science”what I shall call, for simplicity™s sake, ˜networks™, ˜exclusion™, and
˜culture™”have been at the forefront of these important efforts to make
initial inroads into shaping contemporary policy discourses, not least at the
international level. While further useful insights can certainly be gained from
continued research in these areas, building signi¬cantly on them requires the
incorporation of three additional (and interrelated) realms into the theories
of and policy responses to chronic poverty. To constitute a coherent and
useful theory, these realms must cumulatively be able to (a) provide a basic
but distinctive model of human behaviour, (b) explain how and why poverty
persists as part of broader processes of economic prosperity and social change,
(c) account for the mechanisms by which power is created, maintained, and
challenged, and (d) readily lend themselves to informing (and iteratively
learning from) a new generation of supportable poverty reduction policies and
practices. These three new realms”which are not actually new, since they are
deeply grounded in a long tradition of social theory, and are not posed here in
contradistinction to the prevailing themes”are social relations, rules systems,
and meaning systems.
These are admittedly ambitious goals, and within the constraints of a single
chapter can necessarily only be partially achieved, if at all. I surely have no
desire to engage in what could only be a futile quest for a ˜grand theory™
of chronic poverty, but I am ¬rmly of the conviction that historical events,

The precise de¬nition of ˜pro-poor™ economic growth is itself contentious (see UNDP™s
International Poverty Centre ˜one-pagers™, which have explored the core contentious issues),
though no one seriously claims that economic growth (however de¬ned) is unnecessary for
sustained poverty reduction.

Michael Woolcock

recent intellectual innovations, and fervent political activism have conspired
to provide us with a narrow window of opportunity to seriously incorpo-
rate social themes into a coherent and supportable strategy for reducing
poverty and marginalization, an opportunity not experienced for perhaps
forty years (the civil rights movement) or nearly a century (the progressive
era). ˜Theory™ is, of course, but one element shaping the viability of any
such strategy, but to the extent that scholars have any comparative advan-
tage in these matters, it is largely in the realm of theory and ideas. So,
herewith my contribution, as someone who resides at the awkward nexus
of multidisciplinary research and development policy; the chapter will have
served its purpose if it provides (even provokes) a basis for further sustained
The chapter is structured in six sections. Section 15.2 brie¬‚y looks at how
poverty generally, and chronic poverty in particular, is explained in the
current policy literature, with a focus on ˜poverty traps™ and (more recently)
˜inequality traps™. I will contend here that three strands of scholarship in the
non-economic social sciences have exerted quite considerable in¬‚uence at the
level of contemporary policy discourse (and to a lesser extent, practice), and
that critics, especially those within these disciplines, have been slow to recog-
nize this fact. Section 15.3 argues that these successes, important as they are,
cannot do the heavy intellectual lifting required for a more comprehensive
social theory of chronic poverty, and that, as such, a new edi¬ce must be
constructed and negotiated for. The key elements of this edi¬ce are nascent
within a long history of scholarship across all the social sciences, but, as a
package, need to be reframed in order to enhance their most salient and
compelling elements, and their prospects of gaining policy traction. These
elements, or realms as I shall call them, must not amount to merely yet
another ˜conceptual framework™ for informing ˜development policy™, but do
the work of any serious social theory of economic life. I provide four tests
for assessing the ef¬cacy of any such theory. Section 15.4 provides three
brief case studies of selected aspects of chronic poverty, to demonstrate both
the in¬‚uence and the limits of prevailing approaches. Section 15.5 provides
a spirited (if not detailed) defence of three constituent realms of a broader
social theory of chronic poverty, namely systems of social relations, rules, and
meaning. Section 15.6 concludes.

15.2. Poverty as a Policy ˜Story™: Poverty Traps, Inequality Traps

˜Poverty™ clearly has a long intellectual history (see Geremek, 1994; Beaudoin,
2007), and I cannot possibly hope to do justice to this complex account
here. For our purposes, I shall simply summarize the dominant explana-
tion of poverty in developing countries within contemporary policy circles,

An Economic Sociology of Chronic Poverty

and then show how aspects of three different bodies of scholarship within
non-economic social science have modi¬ed (even challenged) that account,
and given rise to (and/or themselves been in¬‚uenced by) particular policy
responses. The dominant account of chronic poverty presented by econo-
mists, and made manifest in the discourse of international and bilateral
development agencies, centres on the notion of ˜poverty traps™ (Azariadis and
Stachurski, 2006). Poverty traps have long been invoked by all manner of
social scientists working at all units of analysis”from countries (Sachs, 2005)
to individuals (Bowles, Durlauf, and Hoff, 2006)”to explain chronic poverty,
or the empirical reality that poverty tends to persist across generations (Hulme
and Shepherd, 2003). While many economists (e.g. Easterly, 2006) dispute the
presence of poverty traps at the macro level (i.e. a self-perpetuating low-level
equilibrium in which a poor country struggles to attract investment, thus can-
not provide basic public goods and services, endures sluggish/erratic/negative
economic growth, suffers recurrent politics crises, and thus cannot attract
investment), there is much stronger support for it at the micro level (Banerjee,
Benabou, and Mookherjee, 2006), where poor individuals cannot afford ade-
quate food, education, and healthcare, are thus more often sick and unable to
work, and thus less able to earn suf¬cient income to support themselves and
their families.
The dynamics of poverty traps are compounded by pervasive market fail-
ures, especially in labour, ¬nance, insurance, and property rights, which
generate hugely inef¬cient outcomes: workers have few incentives to invest in
their (or their children™s) education (because no one else does); households are
unable to ¬nd secure places for their savings (leading to investments in, say,
livestock, which can die, get sick, or be stolen) or obtain credit at reasonable
interest rates (thereby sending them to usurious moneylenders); disasters of
all kinds, whether to property or persons, can lead to utter destitution, leading
to investments in low-risk but low-return crops and entrepreneurial ventures
(Scott, 1976); and informal (at best) property rights mean the few material
possessions of the poor cannot be leveraged as security (and are thus rendered
˜dead capital™, as De Soto, 2000, famously put it). In the absence of formal
protections embodied in a legally binding statement of ownership, such pos-
sessions can also be expropriated at will (and with no recourse other than
vigilantism) by local elites, criminal elements, business interests, or the state.
Presented as such, the microeconomics of poverty traps should be relatively
straightforward and non-controversial: this account enjoys strong theoretical
backing and empirical support, and its various aspects are readily apparent
to anyone who has done ¬eldwork in developing countries. It can provide a
reasonably solid explanation of why individuals with the ˜same™ demographic
attributes at birth in different countries can nonetheless enjoy vastly different
life chances (World Bank, 2005) and, more tellingly, why individuals who
are ˜rich™ (i.e. in the upper 10 per cent of the income distribution) in poor

Michael Woolcock

countries have life chances vastly inferior to the ˜poor™ (bottom 10 per cent) in
rich countries (Pritchett, 2006). The core problem with the orthodox poverty
traps account lies more in the areas of what it cannot adequately explain, and
what it does not say (or is unable to say). It struggles, for example, to explain
why particular groups (e.g. Dalhits in India, Aborigines in Australia) tend to
remain chronically poor, why the broad enhancement of material welfare
tends to be accompanied by (often severe) con¬‚ict (Bates, 2000), why certain
groups (e.g., the Roma in Eastern Europe, the residents of ˜Zomia™ 3 in south-
east Asia) who could in fact have access to formal education, ¬nancial services,
and police protection may nonetheless actively chose to remain outside the
purview of the state, and how systemic (as opposed to individual) ˜poverty
traps™ sometimes are actually broken.
In its defence, the broad acceptance currently accorded to the
˜multidimensionality™ of poverty (alluded to at the start of this chapter)
is in some important sense a recognition by policy elites that microeconomics
alone cannot fully account for the wide array of factors shaping the
causes, manifestations, and consequences of poverty (and especially chronic
poverty). Because of its own internal shortcomings, then, and”equally
importantly”the compelling nature of key empirical and theoretical insights
presented by other disciplines, the recent reports of the major international
development agencies (i.e. the World Bank™s World Development Reports and
the UNDP™s Human Development Reports), and the Chronic Poverty Report
(funded by the UK government™s Department for International Development),
have given signi¬cant space to the ˜non-economic™ dimensions of poverty
and inequality. While hard-line critics will always ¬nd fault with them,
the World Development Report 2000/1 (World Bank, 2000), for example,
assigned a whole section to covering the political and social dimensions
of poverty, while WDR2006 granted an entire chapter (and several sections
elsewhere) to historical and political economy considerations of equity and
the institutional mechanisms by which it is created and perpetuated (see
further discussion below). For their part, recent HDRs have also focused
exclusively on considerations of culture and inequality. Their inherent
limitations notwithstanding, these documents represent important discursive
milestones and opportunities for further advancement, and should be
recognized as such by the wider scholarly community.
If ˜poverty traps™ is the policy shorthand for the microeconomics
of poverty, what the WDR2006 (World Bank, 2005; see also

˜Zomia™ is a title coined by (among others) van Schendel (2002) to refer to the broad
expanse of mountainous territory covering northern Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, north-
ern Vietnam, and southern China, which has, for centuries, been populated by nomadic
peoples who have overtly (and, for the most part, successfully) resisted incorporation into
the prevailing state, practising ˜escape agriculture™ and exhibiting an ˜escape social structure™
(see Scott, forthcoming).

An Economic Sociology of Chronic Poverty

Rao, 2005b 4 ) calls ˜inequality traps™ can be said to be the equivalent for non-
economics perspectives. In its simplest form, inequality trap refers to ˜durable™
(cf. Tilly, 2000) structures of economic, political, and social difference that
serve to keep poor people (and, by extension, poor countries) poor. Large
economic gaps between rich and poor groups, for example, can give rise to
vastly unequal political in¬‚uence which, over time, can consolidate itself
into institutionalized disadvantage and discrimination; it can erode the tax
base for public services, with the wealthy purchasing their own private
education, healthcare, transport, and security, effectively putting them in a
separate ˜moral universe™ (Skocpol, 1990) to that of the poor, with whom they
rarely interact or even come in contact, thereby eroding their elective af¬nity
and sense of shared political interests. Similarly, widening and (seemingly or
actually) entrenched inequality can serve to undermine any hope by those
at the bottom of the income ladder that ˜hard work™ and ˜playing by the
rules™, rather than criminal or subversive activity, can yield them (and/or
their children) a life of basic dignity (let alone economic advancement).
If one unpacks the intellectual genesis of ˜inequality traps™, and the path-
ways by which the idea has become in¬‚uential in international development
circles, it can be said to draw on three strands of research within social science.
The ¬rst of these can be called ˜network isolation™, which has its origins in
the Chicago School of urban sociology in the early twentieth century but
has had its greatest contemporary in¬‚uence through the work of sociologist
William Julius Wilson (1987, 1996) on ˜the truly disadvantaged™”i.e. those
who, through mutually reinforcing processes of urban deindustrialization and
out-migration by the middle classes, ¬nd themselves increasingly isolated
from the diverse social networks and high-quality public services that provide
the vital information, resources, and ˜cultural capital™ (following Bourdieu)
needed to ¬nd and keep good jobs and affordable housing. This work is
broadly compatible with work by economists on poverty mapping and ˜geo-
graphical poverty traps™ (Jalan and Ravallion, 2002), and with that strand
of social capital research in development studies in¬‚uenced by Robert Put-
nam 5 (e.g. Isham, 2002; Fafchamps, 2006): for these scholars, it is the social
networks that provide the basis of information ¬‚ows and resource sharing
in poor communities, which constitute key elements of their survival and
mobility strategies; they also serve to con¬ne the poor to particular (usually
spatially isolated) places, wherein their absence of diverse social networks is
only consolidated.

Sage and Woolcock (2006) also outline what they call ˜legal inequality traps™, a situation
whereby the prevailing rules system”both in its normative and judicial incarnations”serves
to keep poor people poor.
See Woolcock and Narayan (2000), who outline four strands of social capital research”
communitarian, networks, institutions, and synergy”that have ¬‚owed from the work of
Robert Putnam.

Michael Woolcock

To the literature on networks, scholars of social policy, especially those in
Europe, have succeeded in introducing a discourse on ˜social exclusion™ into
academic and policy debates on poverty (Silver, this volume), arguing that
rigid class structures and overt discrimination continue to exert a powerful
in¬‚uence on who has knowledge of, access to, and sustained participation in
key mobility mechanisms such as employment, citizenship, and education.
Primarily concerned with understanding the social and political processes
whereby particular groups and structures are reproduced over time, the social
exclusion literature has managed to convey a greater sense of internal coher-
ence and unity than its counterparts on networks (above) and culture (below),
though at the expense, perhaps, of sparking energetic (even controversial)
debate or driving a concrete operational agenda. Entire academic centres
have been established on social exclusion (e.g. at LSE), and it™s clear that the
language of social exclusion simultaneously stems from, resonates with, and
informs pan-European sensibilities on the causes of and responses to poverty
in its midst, yet it™s hard to identify precise instances of where actual projects
or policies in developing countries have been launched on the basis of a ˜social
exclusion theory™. If one were to extrapolate a little, it could plausibly be
argued that the language of ˜empowerment™ is one discursive manifestation
of social exclusion theory, in which case the connections to policy are much
more readily apparent (e.g., Stern, Dethier, and Rogers, 2005; Alsop, Holland,
and Bertelsen, 2006). Even so, as these citations themselves indicate, the
concept of ˜empowerment™ can and does draw on multiple (sometimes very
different) intellectual strands.
For better or worse, various ˜cultural explanations™ have also had policy
salience in discussions of poverty. At one extreme, hard-line ˜culture of
poverty™ advocates (e.g. Murray, 1994) have asserted that the behaviour of the
poor themselves is the reason for their misfortune (and thus urge governments
to dismantle the welfare state because it only encourages dependency and per-
petuates social problems such as teen pregnancy); similarly, in¬‚uential writers
such as Lawrence Harrison and Samuel Huntington (e.g. Harrison and Hunt-
ington, 2001) have long argued that ˜culture™ is the primary determinant of a
country™s level of prosperity. More sophisticated thinkers (e.g. Portes, 1995;
Patterson, 2006) have contended that certain powerful intra-group norms,
especially among immigrants and young people, can contribute to poverty by
conspiring to undermine achievement ethics, wealth accumulation, and safe
sexual practices. Discussions of ˜culture™ in some policy circles have also been
driven by an otherwise laudable concern to protect or promote a certain com-
munity™s cultural products and artefacts (e.g. its music, food, languages, art,
monuments, heritage sites, etc.), but where this has been the case it has tended
to overwhelm more detailed and deliberative re¬‚ections on the ontological
status of culture, in the process perpetuating a false view that ˜culture™ is
something ˜out there™ in poor communities (preferably in exotic countries)

An Economic Sociology of Chronic Poverty

rather than an inherent and ubiquitous feature of life ˜in here™, i.e. inside even
(or especially) the most seemingly bland development agencies and academic
departments. These (serious) concerns notwithstanding, the most recent and
vibrant literature on culture, poverty, and development policy (e.g. Rao and
Walton, 2004) argues for making a concerted effort to incorporate the insights
of mainstream anthropology into development theory and practice, a process
which has made important ¬rst steps but which now needs to be consolidated
and expanded (see below).
There are clearly detailed and expansive literatures in each of these three
domains, but for our present purposes it is suf¬cient to note that each has
been a key vehicle through which ideas and evidence from mainstream social
science have gained some measure of policy traction in poverty debates. Given
that such debates are ordinarily dominated by economists, and that non-
economist social scientists have long argued that they should be given a voice
in such deliberations, it is a noteworthy accomplishment that some measure
of in¬‚uence is beginning to be obtained. These advances ought to be more
widely recognized, not least by those who claim, implicitly or explicitly, that
major development agencies are immutable to change. Nevertheless, much
remains to be done if a fuller and more faithful rendering of social science is
to shape the content and direction of poverty policy and the knowledge base
on which it rests (assuming this is a desirable objective, which I obviously
believe it is). In the sections that follow, I outline the tasks that a social theory
of poverty (especially chronic poverty) must be able to accomplish, provide
some simple case studies of the types of problems it must be able to address,
and identify three substantive issues to which sustained attention should be
given if social science scholarship is to have a greater impact on poverty (and
other) policy debates in the coming years.

15.3. Tasks of a Social Theory of (Chronic) Poverty

If non-economic social science is to have an expanded role and a more
con¬dent voice in policy debates on poverty, it is essential that its theoretical
moorings be distinctive and well grounded. In this section, I outline four tasks
that I think a comprehensive social theory of poverty”and by extension,
chronic poverty”must be able to accomplish. I take this approach because,
in my experience, social scientists have to date too frequently chosen (or
been forced by necessity) to carve out highly selected aspects of their concep-
tual and methodological toolkits in their engagements with economists and
policy makers, opportunistically ¬nding spaces and moments for inserting
them rather than strategically enacting a broader vision. As someone who
has spent more than a decade in daily interaction with some of the world™s
leading poverty economists I am acutely aware that seeking and exploiting

Michael Woolcock

opportunistic moments are sometimes all that can be done; still, if (as I have
argued above) important groundwork has now been laid and if the prospects
appear somewhat brighter regarding the receptivity of the policy community
(and economists themselves) to ˜non-economic™ themes (such as governance,
institutions, and participation), then it is important that next steps be taken
proactively, rather than reactively.
To this end, I submit the following four tasks that, going forward, a com-
prehensive theory of (chronic) poverty must be able to accomplish if it is to
be distinctive, useful, and supportable to those who design and implement
responses to it. First, the theory must provide a basic but distinctive model
of human behaviour. If a serious alternative is to be mounted to economic
models, then it must be recognized that much of the power (and putative
˜rigour™) of economics rests on its simple and simplifying assumptions of
human behaviour. If social scientists (including economists) wish to resist
assertions that humans are utility maximizing and self-interested, and that
little, behaviourally, separates the decision-making calculus of Wall Street
executives and Kalahari bushmen, then they need to do more than merely
assert their disagreement; they must pose a viable alternative.
Second, the theory must be able to explain how and why poverty persists
as part of broader processes of economic prosperity and social change. Even
if economic growth is, on average, ˜good for the poor™, a solid theory must
also be able to account for the nature and extent of the standard deviation
(cf. Ravallion, 2001). Most pragmatically, the policies and social consensus
that underpin growth itself will only be politically sustainable if the bene¬ts
of growth are widely shared, and if the distributional con¬‚icts accompa-
nying that growth”e.g. through changes in relations between classes and
occupational groups”are meaningfully accommodated (Easterly, Ritzen, and
Woolcock, 2006).
Third, the theory is obliged to explain the mechanisms by which power is
created, maintained, and challenged. Most social scientists will assert vigor-
ously that ˜political economy™ considerations are an essential component of
their theoretical apparatus, but too often the precise mechanisms are left more
asserted than demonstrated, with the author being much clearer about what
they are ˜against™ than what they are actually ˜for™.
Fourth, the theory must readily lend itself to informing (and iteratively
learning from) a new generation of supportable poverty reduction policies,
projects, and practices. As more concrete manifestations of social theory
are implemented in response to poverty concerns, they should be treated
as ˜laboratories™ for testing (and thereby informing) many of the ideas and
hypotheses espoused by scholars. 6

I thank Scott Guggenheim for stressing this point, and indeed for encouraging his own
development projects to be subject to this kind of scrutiny.

An Economic Sociology of Chronic Poverty

The veracity of these four criteria for assessing the merits of a given social
theory of (chronic) poverty, and my proposal for what the elements of such a
theory might comprise, are outlined below, but it is helpful to ¬rst present
three illustrative cases of the types of concrete poverty problems that the
world is currently wrestling with. If nothing else, a serious theory, social or
otherwise, must be able to speak sensibly to these types of concerns. The cases
themselves are relatively self-explanatory; they are not meant to be ˜represen-
tative™ in any statistical sense, but embodiments of the larger processes and
policy dilemmas with which I believe contemporary scholars and practitioners
of poverty must engage.

15.4. Three Very Brief Illustrative Cases

Consider these three brief cases”from China, Australia, and Cameroon”of
problems confronting today™s poverty scholars and practitioners.

15.4.1. Con¬‚ict in rural China
China™s spectacular rates of annual per capita economic growth over the past
three decades are widely (and rightly) recognized for the vital role they have
played in bringing millions of people out of poverty. Achieving the global
poverty reduction targets of the Millennium Development Goals will turn in
no small part on large countries like China continuing to sustain such growth
rates. Less well appreciated, however, is the enormous amount of everyday
con¬‚ict that has accompanied China™s rapid economic expansion in recent
years. In 2004, reports Muldavin (2006), there were 74,000 ˜uprisings™ across
the country, a product of environmental destruction, widening inequality,
and the forced expropriation of land from villagers by the state to accom-
modate the seemingly insatiable demands of developers and wealthy city
dwellers seeking to escape urban pollution and small apartments. ˜Rural unrest
is the biggest political problem China faces today™, writes Joshua Muldavin, a
geographer who is a long-standing student of changes in rural land tenure in
China. ˜Peasant land loss is a time bomb for the state.™

15.4.2. Maternal health in Aboriginal communities
in Maningrida, Australia 7
Many Aboriginal communities in Australia live in ˜fourth world™ conditions.
In isolated towns such as Maningrida (in the Northern Territory), most
specialist medical needs are serviced from Darwin, a two-hour ¬‚ight from
A more detailed discussion and analysis of this case is provided in Sage and Woolcock

Michael Woolcock

Maningrida. In particular, antenatal care, birthing, and postnatal care are
all provided for in the city: expectant mothers are ¬‚own there for up to
four months. Given the prevalence of disease and serious health problems,
low life expectancies, and high levels of neonatal deaths among Arnhem
Land communities (and the criticism faced by the Australian government in
relation to these problems), the free provision of world standard medical care
may seem like an extremely generous, progressive, rights-based programme
(ful¬lling and protecting people™s right to health).
Under indigenous law in Arnhem Land communities, however, the ˜place
of birth™ is a key cultural determinant of clan lines, rights, and authority.
Women who are expecting a child are obliged, under traditional law, to return
to ˜their country™ to ensure the ongoing connection of their children to the
land and to the laws, rights, and responsibilities that are seen to emanate
from it. For Australian healthcare authorities, however, these birthing prac-
tices are too dif¬cult to regulate or to service. If a woman does not want to
go to Darwin, local healthcare authorities persuade and/or cajole her and,
ultimately, provide no alternative. Traditional midwives, where they still
exist, are not recognized by law, and are considered ˜dangerous™ by local
healthcare authorities. If, in the last instance, a woman refuses to go, the local
healthcare authorities present her with a suite of legal disclaimer documents,
denying any legal responsibility or liability to the government.
In practice, however, many women continue to travel back to their tradi-
tional lands to birth their children. Their actions are ˜outlawed™ (or at least
are outside the law) and so they are given no assistance by local healthcare
providers, who are in fact obliged (by law) not to help them. Thanks to the
breakdown of local communities, and the movement of most communities
into constructed towns such as Maningrida, even when traditional healthcare
practitioners and midwives do exist, they tend not to be found in outlying
areas. There, women continue to experience high levels of birth-related health
problems, and high levels of maternal and infant mortality. Conversely, while
those women who agree to travel to Darwin do experience better health
outcomes, the birth of many children ˜off country™ serves to undermine
traditional norms and increases the con¬‚ict between local communities and
government services, or between local communities.

15.4.3. Stopping the spread of AIDS in Cameroon
The scale of the tragedy of the AIDS pandemic sweeping Africa is rela-
tively well acknowledged, but most of the international energy marshalled
in response to it so far has focused on technical matters such as creating
incentives for major pharmaceutical companies to produce lower-cost anti-
retroviral drugs. Crucially important as these initiatives are, they focus on
treating the symptoms of those already infected rather than preventing the

An Economic Sociology of Chronic Poverty

spread of AIDS in the ¬rst place. Given that AIDS is acquired in the most inti-
mate (sexual), primal (parent-to-child), and behavioural (sharing of needles)
of ways, effective responses at this level face a barrage of vexing challenges.
Understandings of personal healthcare issues are, in all communities every-
where, grounded in broader understandings of how the world works, of basic
mechanisms of cause and effect, and of identity and status. For many rural
Africans, where there is only one doctor for every 40,000 people but one tradi-
tional healer for every 500 people (Rosenthal, 2006), and where cosmologies
and community identities are still strongly grounded in an agrarian way of
life, engaging in rituals and practices that would cause grave concern to ˜mod-
ern™ public health of¬cials is just a normal part of everyday life. Having infants
fed by multiple mothers, for example, is a common practice and part of the
naming ceremony whereby a newborn becomes recognized as a member of
the group; witchdoctors may counsel anxious patients to ward off evil spirits
by making multiple cuts with a shared razor blade. Tribal identity markings
and circumcisions may be conducted in similar ways, and in countries such as
Cameroon, polygamy is common (with some chiefs having as many as thirty
Responding effectively to the AIDS pandemic in Africa (and elsewhere) thus
requires far more than just technical and scienti¬c advances, important as
these are. ˜If we are only biology, biology, biology, then we are only doing half
of our mission,™ says Marcel Manny Lobe, director of the new International
Reference and Research Centre for HIV-AIDS in Yaound©. ˜We need also to do
the sociology and anthropology and then make biological interventions.™ 8
These seemingly different cases from different continents nonetheless share
important similarities. First, they show that social relations are central to
understanding responses to economic and political change. In China, con¬‚ict
is a product of resources and livelihoods being expropriated, but even if
the expropriation itself is only part of the economic growth strategy, rapid
change”and the concomitant processes of con¬‚ict it engenders”is only
likely to continue. We are accustomed to thinking of con¬‚ict as a product of
˜failed™ development, but here it is both a cause and effect of rising prosperity.
Similarly, the enduring power of social relations is vital for understanding
the ef¬cacy (or lack thereof) of healthcare interventions, whether in a rich
country (Australia) or a poor one (Cameroon), no matter how well intentioned
or well resourced the providers. Second, these social relations are embedded
within and upheld by rules systems, ranging from everyday social norms and
customary legal systems to the formal laws of the state and international
agreements. Chinese peasants, Aboriginal mothers-to-be, and Cameroonian
AIDS patients carry out their lives within rules systems that are often unclear
(by design) to outsiders and which may or may not cohere with the rules

Cited in Rosenthal (2006).

Michael Woolcock

systems of other groups or those of the state. When they do not”as in each
case here”serious problems ensue. Third, social relations and rules systems
are themselves embedded in broader meaning systems encompassing beliefs
about how one makes sense of the world, whether and how one effects
change, and where one is situated in that world relative to others.
In the cases above, poor Chinese peasants, poor Aboriginal women, and
poor Africans are being challenged (forced) to engage with qualitatively differ-
ent ˜modern™ sensibilities pertaining to livelihoods, childbirth practices, and
public health; as such, the fault line (or policy ˜bottleneck™) is not so much
the absence of material resources (cf. Sachs, 2005) but rather different ways”
ontologically and epistemologically”of understanding how the world works.
For these types of development problems, which I contend are ubiquitous and
omnipresent, the appropriate solution is not technical but political; optimal
and legitimate solutions, characteristically unknowable ex ante, can only be
arrived at through equitable negotiation and deliberation. In the next section,
I elaborate brie¬‚y on these three elements”social relations, rules systems, and
meaning systems”and argue that they should be the basis of the next stage
of efforts to incorporate social and political theory into development policy
and practice.

15.5. Elements of an Economic Sociology of Chronic Poverty:
Social Relations, Rules Systems, Meaning Systems

To date, I have argued, the dominant scholarly and policy debates on develop-
ment in general, and poverty in particular, have been most in¬‚uenced (outside
of economics) by studies of networks, social exclusion, and culture. This has
occurred not only because of the inherent appeal of the core ideas in these
¬elds, and the passing of historical events which have created greater space
for their (actual or potential) receptivity, but because certain key actors and
organizations have actively and strategically promoted them (see Bebbington
et al., 2004). To the extent human agency can be similarly deployed going
forward, the consolidation and extension of these gains, and the incorpora-
tion of a still richer body of social science research into understanding poverty
dynamics, requires, I suggest, a focus on three additional realms. 9 The three
illustrative case studies (above) provide a sense of their practical manifes-
tation; in this section, I provide an overview of their distinctive analytical
My focus on three ¬elds of study, as opposed to some other number, is more a matter
of discursive convenience than demonstrated empirical fact. I am conscious that, in quests
to render ˜big picture™ issues in manageable terms, the choice of three factors has a long
and sometimes awkward history; Gellner (1988, p. 19), for example, amusingly calls such
proclivities ˜trinitarianism™.

An Economic Sociology of Chronic Poverty

15.5.1. Social relations
Arguing for a focus on ˜social relations™ as a basis for understanding economic
outcomes has its origins at least as far back as Marx (see Farr, 2004), but for
our present purposes it should direct our attention to three key sub-issues.
First, following (among others) Emirbayer (1997), Tilly (2000), and Rao and
Walton (2004), it should help us understand how groups are de¬ned, how ˜us“
them™ boundaries are created, sustained, and transgressed, and how these shift
during periods of economic and political transformation. It is in and through
groups that identities are formed, and it is a de¬ning feature of modernity
that it simultaneously fractures individual identity into multiple (sometimes
competing) strands”home/work, citizen/subject, sacred/profane”even as it
then requires individuals (and, by extension, communities) to ˜manage™ these
different claims on their time, resources, and loyalty (Gellner, 1988). As
Polanyi (1944) famously argued, ˜the great transformation™ unleashed by
the industrial revolution”and whose workings continue to unfold today”
rendered separate what had previously been uni¬ed.
Second, humans are relentlessly status-oriented beings, constantly assessing
their preferences, aspirations, and strategies on the basis of their place in
various identity groups and broader communities within which their lives
are ˜embedded™. Recent work in experimental economics 10 has con¬rmed
what has long been a staple of sociology and social psychology, namely
that individual choices and values are heavily in¬‚uenced by the particular
reference groups one believes most salient, and the perceived legitimacy and
permeability of the boundaries separating these groups (Haslam, 2004). The
direst circumstances of poverty, for example, in which all sense of hope or
expectation for escaping it appears to be lost, can itself undermine ˜capacities
to aspire™ (Appadurai, 2004) and thereby contribute to the persistence of
inequality traps. Similarly, membership in a stigmatized group (such as a low
caste in India) can itself”that is, all other things equal”contribute to low
performance on standardized tests. 11
Third, many key services”such as health, education, and social work”
are necessarily delivered in and through social relationships (doctor“patient,
teacher“student, counsellor“client). There is no short-changing the fact that
schooling, for example, whether it is conducted privately, by the state, or by
parents at home, essentially takes human interaction between teacher and
student over the course of six hours a day, 200 days a year, for twelve years, in
order to ˜produce™ a suf¬ciently socialized and educated young adult able to
take their place in our modern economy and society. Making services work
is key to enhancing the welfare of the poor (World Bank, 2003), but”as

Radin and Woolcock (2008) provide an overview of this work and an assessment of its
signi¬cance for social theory and development.
This literature is surveyed in World Bank (2005).

Michael Woolcock

the case of AIDS in Cameroon above demonstrates”responding effectively,
especially where intensely private matters such as sexuality are involved, will
entail paying serious attention to the relational aspects of service delivery
(Pritchett and Woolcock, 2004), not just technical issues such as the pricing
of those services, or administrative issues such as the design of line ministries
(important as these are).

15.5.2. Rules systems
While there is a broad consensus that the design and implementation of
effective development policy entails ˜understanding the rules of the game™ in a
given context, that equitable outcomes depend on ˜levelling the playing ¬eld™,
and that transparent and accountable governance requires ˜building the rule
of law™, there is far less agreement on how anyone can (or might) actually do
these things. The international community has a long and unhappy history
in such matters (Sage and Woolcock, 2006), in no small part because its
programmatic activities have been the logical end product of (i) the pre-
vailing theories for much of the last sixty years (whether emanating from
modernization theory, Marxist perspectives, or neoclassical assumptions), and
(ii) the imperatives of large development organizations, both of which have
combined to encourage (and/or justify) technical assistance strategies centred
on ˜jumping straight to Weber™ (Pritchett and Woolcock, 2004)”that is, imple-
menting, preferably in a single bound, end-state institutional forms deemed
to be ˜international best practice™.
It is important to note that certain development problems (such as low-
cost methods for desalinating water, or engineering techniques for building
rural roads in high-rainfall environments) do indeed have technical solutions,
and when they are identi¬ed it is clearly to everyone™s advantage for these
to be widely and rapidly disseminated. In such matters, the wheel does not
have to be reinvented each time. In a vast range of other cases, however,
such as resolving tensions between different ethnic groups or building judi-
cial systems, an entirely different decision-making apparatus is required. The
development community is only slowly coming to an appreciation of this,
though both its political history and prevailing institutional architecture
conspire against it. Nevertheless, social and political theory (and research
methods) has a vital role to play here. If ˜good governance™ and ˜making
institutions work™ for the poor is everyone™s seemingly highest priority, then
a whole new intellectual software is required. Enhancing the accessibility and
quality of justice for the poor; bridging state and non-state justice systems;
creating new deliberative spaces for decision making and political reform:
these are all vital tasks in the twenty-¬rst century, and ones to which social
science is well equipped to speak (see Gibson and Woolcock, 2008, drawing on

An Economic Sociology of Chronic Poverty

Rules systems constitute everything from constitutions and contracts to
languages and social norms”they are all human inventions to regulate behav-
iour, facilitate exchange, and (at best) constrain elite power. As such, efforts to
introduce some version of them into settings where they have not previously
existed requires a theoretical framework considerably different from those
used to set exchange rates, build bridges, or design pension systems. Similarly,
rules systems themselves”most graphically apartheid, but also laws that deny
widows any inheritance or gender norms that encourage girls to leave school
early”can lie at the heart of ˜legal inequality traps™ (Sage and Woolcock, 2006,
2008) that keep poor people poor. ˜Breaking™ such traps is a vital, if vexing,
development challenge.

15.5.3. Meaning systems
This ¬nal realm of enquiry is an extension of the best work on culture and
development (e.g. Rao and Walton, 2004). Here the concern is with under-
standing how people make sense of what happens in the world and to them;
how they understand the role of their own agency (vis-à-vis ˜social structures™
and ˜the fates™) in shaping their life chances and opportunities; and how they
engage with (and are affected by) difference and change. In order to realize
these ambitious goals, it will be necessary to engage more systematically
with the most recent work on cultural ˜frames™ and ˜repertoires™ (e.g. Lamont
and Small, 2006), which seeks to understand how people navigate/negotiate
institutional boundaries and power differentials, and how they learn (or not)
the ˜language™/mannerisms required to negotiate them.
Such knowledge is also important for coming to terms with apparent
anomalies in the behaviour of marginalized groups. Some such groups, as our
Cameroon example above shows, actively resist or subvert practices that are
˜clearly™ in their best interests, not out of ignorance or de¬ance but because
their particular frame of understanding places a higher value on upholding
community norms, or because, more radically, the ˜superior™ practice directly
contravenes their cosmology (e.g. when villagers refuse to immunize their
children because they believe puncturing the skin with a needle allows evil
spirits to enter). In important work done by Scott (1985) and Gledhill (2000),
marginalized groups do in fact actively defy those above them, but in ways
that are less visible to those people and/or that subtly give the marginalized a
slightly stronger negotiating position (e.g. by refusing to allow customary law
to be codi¬ed; if it was, they would, as illiterates, probably lose to formally
trained lawyers). Mediating between very different ways of understanding
the world is a task fraught with ethical and political dif¬culties: one cannot
unilaterally accept that ˜traditional ways™ are inherently virtuous (e.g. child
marriage, female circumcision, bride burning, capital punishment), yet nei-
ther can one assume that forcibly (by decree or conditionality requirements)

Michael Woolcock

implementing ˜modern™ approaches in a single bound is desirable (or even
possible). Reconciling these tensions is not merely an uncomfortable (or
˜soft™) component of development; it is development. Moreover, because the
development business is inherently one of encounters between people with
such vastly different power, expectations, and philosophies, effective strate-
gies to reduce poverty must therefore give a much more prominent place to
perspectives that can help ˜manage™ these encounters in the most equitable
and accountable manner. A greater focus on ˜meaning systems™ is a step in
this direction.
Finally, I argue that a focus on social relations, rules systems, and meaning
systems satis¬es the four criteria (outlined above) that a rigorous and relevant
social theory must be able to meet. Cumulatively, they (a) provide a clear
but distinctive model of human behaviour, (b) explain how and why poverty
persists as part of broader processes of economic prosperity and social change,
(c) account for the mechanisms by which power is created, maintained, and
challenged, and (d) readily lend themselves to informing (and iteratively
learning from) a new generation of supportable poverty reduction policies
and practices.

15.6. Conclusion: Development as ˜Good Struggles™

Amongst policy-oriented non-economists (such as myself), it is common to
read arguments to the effect that policies enacted in response to poverty
would be more effective if only they adopted a more ˜social™ and/or ˜political™
approach, yet much of the intellectual energy that accompanies this call tends
to be long on critiques of (what is assumed to be) economic orthodoxy and
short on coherent and supportable alternatives. On the rare occasions that
viable alternatives are in fact submitted by non-economists, they seek to
distance themselves as far as possible from economics and its putative associ-
ations with ˜neo-liberalism™. These strident polarities make for easy contrasts
and witticisms, but in doing so they simultaneously manage to (a) sell short
the positive contributions their own disciplines could (and should) be making
to poverty knowledge and practice, and (b) underappreciate the progress that
has been made over the last ten years, both within economics itself and with
respect to the policy traction that particular social concepts have been able to
secure. Scholars are trained to be sceptics, but in this instance at least there is
a reasonable basis for optimism that hard-won gains can be consolidated and
built upon.
For this to happen, I have argued that social scientists need to have greater
con¬dence in the content and usefulness of their theories and methods. While
the history and organizational imperatives of the large contemporary develop-
ment agencies will continue (for the foreseeable future) to construe problems

An Economic Sociology of Chronic Poverty

and solutions in largely technocratic terms (Scott, 1998)”and thereby priv-
ilege those disciplines (such as economics and engineering) most conducive
to this”the appropriate response from social scientists should be to speak
concretely to actual policy problems, not (as seems to be so often the case)
engage in endless ˜critiques™ and/or presentations of yet more ˜conceptual
frameworks™ (cf. Pieterse, 2001). The three illustrative cases presented above
demand real responses; all are at the centre of contemporary policy debates,
speaking directly to some of the most pressing and vexing development
concerns of the twenty-¬rst century: economic and political transformation,
the plight of indigenous groups, responding to the AIDS pandemic. Social
theory can and should speak directly and constructively to these concerns.
Economics alone cannot solve these problems, but it will probably be part
of an answer; the challenge for social scientists is to articulate coherent and
supportable theories that speak con¬dently to those aspects on which it has a
clear comparative advantage. One such aspect is that class of problems”and
they are legion”for which there is no technical solution; indeed, where the
belief that there is a technical solution (i.e. if only more smart people could
be recruited and resources given to them) is itself a major part of the problem
(Pritchett and Woolcock, 2004). Worrying more about social relations, rules
systems, and meaning systems will be central to addressing such concerns.
Where a given development issue (e.g. race relations)”or some aspect of a
given development issue (e.g. student“teacher relations as part of a broader
debate on ˜education™)”entails crafting spaces for dialogue and negotiation,
the opportunity is ripe for entry by detailed contributions by social scientists.
In this sense, and because effective responses in these instances will primarily
come about through equitable political contestation rather than technical
analysis, much of development can be said to be about facilitating ˜good
struggles™ (Adler, Sage, and Woolcock, 2007). Creating the space for such a
contribution, however, is as important as being able to speak sensibly to it.


Adler, Daniel, Sage, Caroline, and Woolcock, Michael (2007), ˜Interim Institutions and
the Development Process: Opening Spaces for Reform in Indonesia and Cambodia™,
Alsop, Ruth, Holland, Jeremy, and Bertelsen, Mette (eds.) (2006), Empowerment in Prac-
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KIDS (KwaZulu-Natal Income Dynamics
Aborigines 332, 337“8, 339
Study) 16“17, 147“52, 233
Adam, B. 4
livelihood options 130“4
Adato, M. 9“10
marriage 279“80
Adato, M., Carter, M. R., and May, J. 148, 149,
natural capital 256, 316
218, 219
opportunities and 19“20, 247, 254“64
adult literacy 230
policy and 280“1
Africa 6, 22, 259, 260, 274, 275
productive capital 16, 111, 112, 117“19, 299
AIDS pandemic 338“9, 342
rates of return 256“8, 260“1
Cameroon 338“9, 342
redistribution 264, see also human capital;
destitution 318
social capital
West 221, 321
axiomatic approach to poverty 14, 29“57
witchcraft 22, 319“21, 322, 324, 339, see also
South Africa
Bangladesh 154“81, 178, 274, 281, 319
AFT (Aggregation-Focus-Transformation) 41“2,
Bardhan, P. 213
44, 51
Bardhan, P. and Ray, I. 222
Agarwal, B. 221
bargaining power 268, 269, 272“5
agency 8, 19, 232, 237
Barrett, C. B. and Carter, M. R. 129, 133, 141,
aggregate poverty 31, 34, 35, 38, 40, 43
142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 233
aggregation steps 59, 60“2, 64“71, 74
Barrett, C. B., Carter, M. R., and Ikegami, M.
agrarian differentiation 18, 218
129, 130
Barrett, C. B., Carter, M. R., and Little, P. 208
cash crops 259, 260
Barrientos, A. 109
crises 211
Barton, W. 303
crop failure 181, 190, 191
Baulch, B. and Davis, P. 13
improvements 192
Baulch, B. and Hoddinott, J. 31, 40
Ahmedabad, India 211“12
Baulch, B. and Masset, E. 7, 231
Alderman, H. et al. 273
Beck, U. 323
Anand, S. and Hanson, K. 14, 44
Becker, G. S. and Tomes, N. 269, 272
Andhra, India 186, 189, 190, 192
Behrman, J. R. 269
antenatal care 338
Behrman, J. R., Pollack, R., and Taubman, P.
anthropology 9, 12, 117, 213, 239, 292, 297,
302, 335, 339
Bernstein, H. 219
Argentina 71“4
Bevan, P. 229
Aristotle 4
Bhaduri, A. 219“20
Asselin, L.-M. 109
Bhatta, S. D. and Sharma, S. K. 90
asset-based approach to poverty 18, 208,
BMI (body mass index) 85“6
218“19, 221
Booysen, F. et al. 107“8
assets 7, 17, 105, 129, 135“40, 148, 167, 195,
Bossert, W. and D™Ambrosio, C. 98
199, 208, 216, 247, 254“64
Botswana 315
absence of 314“16
Brazil 274, 275, 276, 292
gender 315
Breman, J. 212
Indio Guayas households 15“16, 102“25
brideprices 279
intergenerational transfers 20“1,
Budapest 103


subgroups of 231“2
Buera, F. 129, 130
Vietnam Living Standard Survey 88“99,
business failure 181
see also poverty; poverty traps;
Calvo, C. and Dercon, S. 11, 47, 129, 136, 140,
church attendance 119
143, 144, 146
Clark, D. A. and Qizilbash, M. 109
Cameroon 338“9, 342
class formation 18, 218
capability approach to poverty 19, 61, 79, 81,
clothing 78, 185, 186, 187
86, 98, 230“2
colonialism 216
capitalism 22, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219“21,
Colson, E. 320
communities 11, 12, 119“20, 121, 185“6
Carter, M. R. and Barrett, C. B. 129, 133, 141,
components approach to poverty 15“16,
142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 233
59“60, 83, 84, 105“25
Carter, M. R. and Ikegami, M. 11
con¬‚ict 178, 181, 337, 339
Carter, M. R., Barrett, C. B. and May, J. 234
consistency axiom 38, 41, 42
Carter, M. R., et al. 134
consumer durables 111“14, 121, 122, 123, 217
cash crops 259, 260
consumption ¬‚ows 30“50, 54, 77, 216, 313
casualization of labour 211“12
consumption smoothing 276, 281
Chakravarty, S. and D™Ambrosio, C. 98
court cases 157, 158, 163, 165, 178, 181
Chakravarty, S. R. 40, 43, 48
credit 30, 260, 267, 268, 272, 275“6, 282, 331
Chambers, R. 162, 195, 205“7, 211
criminality 178, 181, 333
Chicago School urban sociology 333
crises 156“61, 163, 165, 167, 170, 173, 178,
children 156, 268, 323
181, 189, 190, 191, 317“18
chronically poor 312
critical social theory 239
developmental pathways 301“2
crop failure 181, 190, 191
education poverty 82, 83
cultural capital 299
employment 297“9, 300
culture 19, 236, 237, 259, 260, 338, 339,
equal asset allocation 269“71, 274“5
340, 343
exposure to poverty 59
˜culture of poverty™ 334“5
health poverty 83
insurance function of 271“2, 274
Dalhits 332
resilience research on 21, 289“304
Davis, P. 12
stunting 5, 81, 82, 83, 85“6, 109
Dawes, A. and Donald, D. 302
China 259, 337, 339
de Janvry, A. et al. 282
chronic illness 163, 164, 165, 166, 174
De Soto, H. 316, 331
chronic poverty 7, 11, 82“3, 253, 332
deaths 156, 162, 166, 172, 174, 178, 189, 190,
causation 154, 162, 174, 176, 180, 254“61
281, see also funeral expenses
characterization of 248“53
Deaton, A. and Kozel, V. 211
components analysis of 15“16, 59“60, 83,
debt 186, 189, 190, 191
84, 105“25
decomposability 15, 39, 40, 41, 42, 48, 60,
de¬nitions 309“11
62, 71
duration in 59“74
Deere, C. and Janvry, A. de 219
economic growth and 261“4
dependency 321, 322“3, 334
as a framing device 312, 323
deprivation 22, 109, 218, 230“1, 249, 301“2,
future persistence of 128“52
309, 310, 311, 313, 314, 317, 319
groups 17, 130, 133“4
destitution 311, 313, 314, 315, 316“19, 323“4,
intertemporal 29“57
intrinsic 17, 130, 133“4, 136, 137, 141, 142,
development studies 233, 239, 333
143, 145, 148, 150
developmental psychology 292, 296, 301“2
lifespan 248, 255
Devereux, S. 318
measurement 13, 31, 62“71, 232“3
Dewilde, C. 158
multidimensional poverty as 86, 87, 96“7
differentiability 18, 47, 55, 218
multiple equilibrium 17, 130, 133“4, 135,
disability 174, 176, 177, 323
142, 143“4, 147
divorce 162, 181, 318, 323
non-income 77“99
domestic violence 273
social theory of 335“7
dowry costs 156, 163, 165, 166, 169, 171, 173,
South Africa 226“7, 233
174, 176, 178, 189“90, 279“80
structural mismatch and 19, 247“8, 254“65


Filmer, D. and Pritchett, L. 107, 108
drunkenness 191
¬nancial capital 16, 111, 112, 117“19, 299
du Toit, A. 10
Flyvberg, B. 213“14, 215, 217, 221
Duclos, J. Y., Sahn, D. and Younger, S. D. 99
food 185, 186, 187, 281
durable poverty 22, 311“24
Foster, J. E. 11, 34, 40
Durkheim, E. 4
Foster, J. E. and Shorrocks, T. 38
France 322
East Asia 259
Friedman, M. 77
econometrics 8, 9, 12, 15, 19, 103“25, 225, 227,
FTA (Focus-Transformation-Aggregation)
229, 231, 233, 234, 237, 238, 239, 240
39“40, 43, 46, 51, 144“5
economic growth 261“4, 310, 329, 336, 337,
funeral expenses 18, 189“90


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