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Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise

Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise

Elgar original reference

Edited by Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni

The recent era of economic turbulence has generated a growing enthusiasm for an increase in new and original economic insights based around the concepts of reciprocity and social enterprise. This stimulating and thought-provoking Handbook not only encourages and supports this growth, but also emphasises and expands upon new topics and issues within the economics discourse.

Chapter 26: Poverty

Andrea Brandolini

Subjects: economics and finance, behavioural and experimental economics, economic psychology, public sector economics, politics and public policy, social entrepreneurship, social policy and sociology, economics of social policy


In September 2000, world leaders committed their nations to reduce extreme poverty and set the Millennium Development Goals. The first goal is to halve the proportion of the world’s people whose income is less than one dollar a day by 2015, relative to 1990. In June 2010, the European Union (EU) adopted the Europe 2020 strategy aimed at achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. One of the five headline targets used to assess progress in meeting this objective is the reduction by at least 20 million by 2020 of the number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion. The latter comprise all individuals who live in households either with low income, or severely materially deprived, or with adults working less than 20 per cent of their total work potential. In November 2011, the United States (US) Census Bureau released the supplemental poverty measure, which significantly departs from the existing official poverty measure in adopting a broader reference unit, a different resource concept, and a quasi-relative rather than absolute poverty threshold (Short 2011). The new measure is meant to provide an additional macroeconomic statistic integrating but not replacing the official poverty measure, developed in the early 1960s and still used in legislation to define eligibility conditions and funding allocation of certain welfare programmes.

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