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Characteristics and patterns of intergenerational poverty traps and escapes in rural north India

This publication is part of a series on 'Asset inheritance and the intergenerational transmission of poverty'

Anirudh Krishna


The poverty status of all 4,198 households resident in 18 villages of Rajasthan, India, was examined at four points of time between 1977 and 2010 using a retrospective methodology known as Stages of Progress. Households that were consistently poor at all four points spanning a period of 33 years were regarded as the intergenerational poverty (IGP) group, including the long-term and intergenerationally poor. Characteristics and experiences of this group of households were compared with those of other village households, including, particularly, households that – after being consistently poor at the first three points in time – had overcome poverty before the fourth (and final) measurement. These examinations show how an impoverished inheritance, made worse by a succession of adverse events (mostly of an everyday kind), has trapped households within IGP. School education has made inroads within these villages but this has not yet been deep enough to serve as a viable means for significant upward mobility. External support of two different kinds is required: cash assistance for the permanently disabled and uncared-for elderly; and better means of protection against everyday risks for other poor and near-poor people.

This paper is one of a series on Asset inheritance and the intergenerational transmission of poverty commissioned and published by the CPRC. It was first presented at a Roundtable on Inheritance and the Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty hosted jointly by the CPRC and the Overseas Development Institute on 11 October 2010.

Publication Type(s)

CPRC Working Paper


intergenerational transmission of poverty poverty traps rural social protection India disability old age methodology households Asset inheritance and IGT of poverty series

ISBN: 978-1-906433-95-6


1 Characteristics and patterns of intergenerational poverty traps and escapes in rural north India PDF 416.7 KB

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