Index > Publications > Publication Details

Publication Details

Frameworks for understanding the inter-generational transmission of poverty and well being in developing countries

Karen Moore


Initial work done by the Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC) suggests that the tightest possible definition of chronic poverty would be intergenerationally transmitted (IGT) poverty. However, while this concept has been widely used in a 'developed' country (particularly American) context, focussing particularly on issues of state-benefit dependence, it has rarely been applied to the 'developing' world in a holistic manner. In this paper, a framework for understanding IGT poverty in developing country contexts is developed, focussing on bringing together literature on the intergenerational transfer, extraction, and absence of transfer of different forms of capital: human, social-cultural, social-political, financial/material and environmental/natural. It is important to note that while the concept of IGT poverty is primarily used to signify the 'private' transmission of poverty from older generations of individuals and families to younger generations (especially, but not solely, from parents to children) - and therefore has special relevance to issues of childhood poverty - poverty-related capital can also be transmitted from younger generations to older generations, and within and between the 'public' spheres of community, state and market. It is suggested that of the range of structures, processes, and livelihood strategies that can affect IGT poverty, a few are particularly important in developing countries: HIV/AIDS, migration patterns, socio-legal entitlement norms, labour market structures, and the presence or absence of social safety nets and social services. The paper concludes with a discussion of the policy implications of IGT poverty. It is hypothesised that policy interventions will differ depending on the type of capital transmitted, as well as on the general approach to poverty reduction - whether an approach targeted at particular individuals or groups within one generation, or a strategic and instrumental approach focussing on intergenerational structures and relationships.

Publication Type(s)

CPRC Working Paper


intergenerational transmission of poverty social relations lifecycle old age childhood poverty

ISBN: 1-904049-07-9


Frameworks for understanding... PDF 82.5 KB

Back to previous page