The Economic Lives of the Poor

How do the poor live?


16 mins

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What is it about?



This essay is about the economic lives of the extremely poor: the choices they face, the constraints they grapple with, and the challenges they meet. In exploring these topics, the authors use data from household surveys conducted in 13 countries: Cote d’Ivoire, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, South Africa, Tanzania, and Timor Leste. Some summary statistics are presented in Table 1. Most of the data is from Living Standard Measurement Surveys (LSMS) conducted by the world bank and “Family Life Surveys) conducted by the Rand Corporation—and supplemented by the authors’ surveys conducted in Udaipur and Hyderabad, India.