Leaving no one behind: Urban Poverty Traps in Sub-Saharan Africa

Reducing poverty and improving equity
Jan 24, 2023 | UN-Merit

A poverty trap is a self-reinforcing mechanism that causes poverty to persist. It occurs when current poverty increases the likelihood of being poor in the future. In this UN-Merit paper, Teresa Janz, Britta Augsburg, Franziska Gassmann and Zina Nimeh investigate the persistence of poverty within the theory of poverty traps. In the face of a poverty trap, the poor will always remain below a critical level (or threshold) of well-being and find themselves unable to accumulate the resources to cross that threshold. The theory of poverty traps thus stands in sharp contrast to the narrative that anybody can make it through hard work, and has important implications for how one should think about poverty and development.

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