Snakes and ladders and loaded dice: Poverty dynamics and inequality in South Africa between 2008-2017

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dc.contributor.author Zizzamia, Rocco
dc.contributor.author Schotte, Simone
dc.contributor.author Leibbrandt, Murray
dc.date.accessioned 2019-04-03T10:49:52Z
dc.date.available 2019-04-03T10:49:52Z
dc.date.issued 2019-01
dc.identifier.citation Zizzamia, R., Schotte, S., Leibbrandt, M. (2019). Snakes and Ladders and Loaded Dice: Poverty dynamics and inequality in South Africa between 2008-2017. Cape Town: SALDRU, UCT. (SALDRU Working Paper Number 235, Version 1/ NIDS Discussion Paper 2019/2)
dc.identifier.isbn 978-1-928281-96-2
dc.identifier.uri http://www.opensaldru.uct.ac.za/handle/11090/950
dc.description.abstract In developing country contexts, poverty analysis is most often undertaken using cross-sectional survey data. If this data is representative at a certain geographical level (local, regional or national), it can give an indication of the extent, depth, severity, and correlates of poverty in a place, at a single point in time. However, poverty is experienced not only at a point in time, but also over time. Poverty is not a static, timeless state – it is a dynamic and evolving phenomenon, with a past and a future (Calvo and Dercon, 2009). That is, households move into and out of poverty over time, remain trapped in poverty, or succeed in keeping their heads above water. In the world of risk and uncertainty in which poverty is lived (Dercon, 2006), poverty is experienced as a game of snakes and ladders. However, going beyond the element of chance, in this game factors that relate to the parental background or geographic location of the household, for example, have loaded the dice in favour of some individuals compared to others. In this sense, cross-sectional analyses remain blind to both the “snakes” that lead households or individuals to fall into poverty and the “ladders” which facilitate poverty escapes, as well as to the contextual factors that condition these transitions. Particularly with regard to the latter, it is important to note that the experience of poverty itself may affect not only the opportunities available to a household, but also its economic choices. By missing this dynamic element, a cross-sectional perspective is fundamentally limited in understanding the nature and determinants of poverty. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Funding for this research from the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation is gratefully acknowledged. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Saldru Working Paper;235
dc.title Snakes and ladders and loaded dice: Poverty dynamics and inequality in South Africa between 2008-2017 en_US
dc.type Working Paper en_US


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