Can't Get Ahead for Falling Behind: New Directions for Development Policy to Escape Poverty and Relief Traps

Choices, Forthcoming

Posted: 17 Feb 2001 Last revised: 13 Aug 2014

See all articles by Christopher B. Barrett

Christopher B. Barrett

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management

Michael R. Carter

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics

Date Written: January 1, 2000

Abstract

"Can't get ahead for falling behind." The entrapment and powerlessness this phrase evokes applies as much to development policy caught in a vicious circle of vulnerability, crisis and reactive aid as it does to the lives of the very people aid policies are designed to benefit. We consider these in turn, first exploring the trap of reactive aid which recent research suggests is costly of limited effectiveness, and commonly crowds out efforts to address underlying structures that create and perpetuate vulnerability. We then consider the related micro-level poverty traps that emerging analysis attributes largely to the ills of dysfunctional factor markets compounded by social exclusion. Both traps can be escaped only through a simultaneous effort to retarget development assistance to firm up factor markets and crowd-in investment. Foreign aid must be properly targeted toward remedying market deficiencies that set vulnerability traps for both the poorest and for development assistance.

Suggested Citation

Barrett, Christopher B. and Carter, Michael R., Can't Get Ahead for Falling Behind: New Directions for Development Policy to Escape Poverty and Relief Traps (January 1, 2000). Choices, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=257346 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.257346

Christopher B. Barrett (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management ( email )

315 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7801
United States
607-255-4489 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://aem.cornell.edu/faculty_sites/cbb2/

Michael R. Carter

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics ( email )

427 Lorch St.
Madison, WI 53706-1503
United States
608-263-2478 (Phone)

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