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Radical Decentralization: Does Community-Driven Development Work? | Annual Review of Economics
"Classic arguments for decentralization, augmented by ideas about how participation empowers the poor, motivate the widely used approach in foreign aid called community-driven development (CDD). CDD devolves control over the selection, implementation, and financial management of public goods to communities. Until recently, policy enthusiasm has outstripped the evidence. I synthesize findings from randomized controlled trials and find that CDD effectively delivers public goods and modest economic returns at low cost in difficult environments. There is little evidence, however, that CDD transforms local decision making or empowers the poor in any enduring way. Part of this failure may be because some constraints believed to be important—like insufficient social capital—appear not to bind. Others, like exclusive local institutions, are a problem, although not one that CDD remedies. These results present a conundrum: How much participation is enough to safeguard the gains of such extreme decentralization while minimizing the opportunity costs imposed on poor people's time?"
to:NB  development_economics  political_science  institutions  inequality 
21 days ago by cshalizi
The Economics of Poverty Traps, Barrett, Carter, Chavas
What circumstances or behaviors turn poverty into a cycle that perpetuates across generations? The answer to this question carries especially important implications for the design and evaluation of policies and projects intended to reduce poverty. Yet a major challenge analysts and policymakers face in understanding poverty traps is the sheer number of mechanisms—not just financial, but also environmental, physical, and psychological—that may contribute to the persistence of poverty all over the world.

The research in this volume explores the hypothesis that poverty is self-reinforcing because the equilibrium behaviors of the poor perpetuate low standards of living. Contributions explore the dynamic, complex processes by which households accumulate assets and increase their productivity and earnings potential, as well as the conditions under which some individuals, groups, and economies struggle to escape poverty. Investigating the full range of phenomena that combine to generate poverty traps—gleaned from behavioral, health, and resource economics as well as the sociology, psychology, and environmental literatures—chapters in this volume also present new evidence that highlights both the insights and the limits of a poverty trap lens.

The framework introduced in this volume provides a robust platform for studying well-being dynamics in developing economies.
book  poverty  development_economics 
7 weeks ago by rvenkat

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