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Empirical approaches to the study of intergenerational transmission of poverty

Working papers

Written by Kate Bird

This theme set out to identify the range of factors that increase the likelihood that poverty is passed from one generation to the next. A fundamental question is whether the drivers of IGT poverty are different to those of persistent and chronic poverty. Research conducted under the ‘Empirical Approaches to the Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty’ theme should ultimately generate research findings about the relative importance of different shocks during the life course in driving the intergenerational transmission of poverty. It should also provide us with insights into the extent to which livelihood resilience can help protect individuals from transitory poverty becoming chronic and intergenerational and the extent to which it can protect from the development of ‘irreversabilities’. Furthermore, it should identify how important different bundles of assets are in protecting individuals from intergenerationally transmitted poverty, and what mix of assets or what absolute amounts are necessary. Lastly, iit is anticipated that the research should assess the role of agency or choice in the intergenerational transmission of poverty and how agency interacts with assets to influence poverty outcomes.

These priorities were developed through the process of drafting the IGT theme’s background paper (Bird, 2007) and through discussion with CPRC senior management.

The theme has attempted to build on work undertaken under Phase 2. This work used life history interviewing, in-depth semi-structured interviews with key informants, and focus group discussions and attempted to draw on a range of methods from sociology, anthropology and micro-economics to develop in-depth analysis with a focus on the household and intra-household levels.

Kate Bird