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Are there any roles for social conformity and deviance in poverty? Insights from a field study on working poverty and educational investment in Bangladesh

Partha Gangopadhyay (), Mustafa A. Rahman and Biswa Nath Bhattacharya

Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, 2014, vol. 19, issue 4, 539-557

Abstract: In recent decades the Indian subcontinent has displayed remarkable invariance in the incidence of working poverty despite strong economic performance. It is widely held that education can rescue households from various types of poverty traps created by information problems and incorrect expectations. Yet we know very little about the motivation of the working poor in acquiring education. From a field study conducted in Bangladesh, we gain invaluable insights for the first time, to our best understanding, into the factors that shape the decision of a poor household to care about and respond to educational decisions of others in one's community. Based on the ‘choice-theoretic framework of rational emulation and deviance’, we empirically explain why some households choose to copy others, while some choose deviance even though social deviance in acquiring education can throw subjects into abject poverty.

Date: 2014
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DOI: 10.1080/13547860.2014.920590

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