Aspirations, Poverty, and Economic Change

Debraj Ray

in Understanding Poverty

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780195305197
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199783519 | DOI:
 Aspirations, Poverty, and Economic Change

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This essay discusses a particular aspect of poverty: its close and brutal association with a failure of aspirations. This is not an assertion about individuals who are poor; it is a statement about the condition of poverty itself. Poverty stifles dreams, or at least the process of attaining dreams. Thus, poverty and the failure of aspirations may be reciprocally linked in a self-sustaining trap. This essay seeks to draw out various aspects of this theme and, in the process, to introduce and discuss an aspirations-based view of individual behavior.

Keywords: aspirations window; poor; individual behavior; social polarization; aspirations failure; collective action

Chapter.  5996 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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