Forthcoming Conference: Aspirations and Poverty
Open call for papers here.
Submission deadline: 30th September 2009
Aspirations and Poverty
An interdisciplinary workshop to be held at the University of Warwick, UK
December 14th and 15th, 2009
Typically, economists argue that poverty persists due to constraints that are exogenous to the individual. Examples of such constraints are credit or insurance market imperfections, coordination problems, institutional or governmental failures, malnutrition and neighbourhood effects. According to this view, a policy that relaxes these exogenous constraints should suffice to break a poverty trap.
A different approach in Anthropology and Social Psychology argues that poverty persistence comes as a result of the effect of exogenous constraints on adaptive (endogenous) psychological states. Initial disadvantages can affect people’s beliefs about their ability to change their own condition. Given these beliefs, a policy that relaxes exogenous constraints may not be enough to break a poverty trap: new opportunities may not be perceived as such. Additional policies aiming at helping people to gain control of their own life may also be needed.
The objective of this interdisciplinary workshop is to bring experts from different social sciences and policy backgrounds to discuss the theoretical and practical aspects of this second approach to poverty persistence.