In both common language and in social science, the term poverty trap refers to the idea that there are circumstances in which an individual or group of individuals, once poor, will remain poor. As such, the poverty trap concept typically focuses on the question of the intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic status. A poverty trap should be thought of as an idealization or limiting case of an environment in which poverty is highly persistent across generations.

Family Poverty Traps

One type of poverty trap can occur at the family level and focuses on the possibility that, if parents suffer sufficient socioeconomic disadvantage, their offspring will be poor as well. There are of course many ways in which parents affect the socioeconomic status of their children. Poverty traps, at ...

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