Aspirations, poverty, and economic change

Debraj Ray

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    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.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationUnderstanding Poverty
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Print)9780195305197
    StatePublished - Sep 6 2006


    • Aspirations failure
    • Aspirations window
    • Collective action
    • Individual behavior
    • Poor
    • Social polarization

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance


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