Frameworks for Understanding the Inter-Generational Transmission of Poverty and Well-Being in Developing Countries

21 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2011

See all articles by Karen Moore

Karen Moore

Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC)

Date Written: November 1, 2001


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, focusing 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, focusing 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 focusing on intergenerational structures and relationships.

Keywords: Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty, Social Relations, Lifecycle, Old Age, Childhood Poverty

Suggested Citation

Moore, Karen, Frameworks for Understanding the Inter-Generational Transmission of Poverty and Well-Being in Developing Countries (November 1, 2001). Chronic Poverty Research Centre Working Paper No. 8, Available at SSRN: or

Karen Moore (Contact Author)

Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC)

Humanities Bridgeford St. Building
Oxford Rd.
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics