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Sustaining escapes from poverty

Vidya Diwakar and Andrew Shepherd

World Development, 2022, vol. 151, issue C

Abstract: The objectives of this research are to identify the difference between sustained and temporary poverty escapes for policy and program design, based on research in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, Niger, the Philippines, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. The method adopted is the q-squared method used in studies on the dynamics of poverty, embedded in a conceptual extension of the capability approach through a risk chain analysis. The results show that key livelihood factors conducive to sustained escapes include diversification of economic activities typically spanning agricultural and off-farm sectors, and sometimes involving rural-urban migration. Important tangible assets include general asset holdings of consumer durables, farm or business equipment, livestock, and electricity. Intangible assets include the completion of at least lower secondary education of the household head, good health, and different forms of social relationships and networks. However, while livelihood strategies help improve income and build assets necessary for resilience, various risks permeate. In these risky contexts, the study finds that the enabling environment is critical in determining whether households can ultimately sustain escapes from poverty. Interactive features of this environment that are conducive to sustained escapes include context-specific pro-poor policy and infrastructure, for example around livestock insurance, climate-smart agriculture alongside predictable disaster risk management, universal health coverage, and supporting a negotiated approach to norm change. Together, these features place an emphasis on collective risk management, beyond a focus only or even primarily on inclusive growth policies. The paper argues that it is essential to understand the circumstances in which people live, from the local (micro) up to the societal (macro) contexts that can influence their ability to sustain a poverty escape, and respond in ways that together address the multifaceted sources of risk and vulnerability, which in turn allows for the less interrupted development of people’s capabilities.

Keywords: Africa; Asia; Poverty dynamics; Q-Squared; Capabilities; Policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2021.105611

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