Handbook of Research on Economic and Social Well-Being
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Handbook of Research on Economic and Social Well-Being

Edited by Conchita D’Ambrosio

The past decade has been characterized by a burgeoning interest in new concepts of individual and social well-being. The impetus for this new research has stemmed from increased demand from policy makers and civil society for measures of progress that go beyond the traditional measures of GDP, as well as improved datasets allowing individuals and households to be tracked over their life course. The aim of this Handbook is to chart these developments and provide extensive surveys of many of the recent themes that have emerged in the research literature. Some of the topics addressed include poverty. relative deprivation and satisfaction, economic insecurity, social exclusion and inequality, income and social polarization, and social fractionalization and diversity. Each topic is first analyzed from a theoretical perspective, followed by detailed empirical discussion.
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Chapter 11: Vulnerability to poverty: theoretical approaches

Cesar Calvo

Abstract

Two competing strands exist within the theoretical literature on vulnerability to poverty, each with its own policy implications. Vulnerability may be seen as low expected utility, and thus stress the danger of self-perpetuating poverty, as the poor shy away from risky, yet necessary decisions to escape their hardship. Alternatively, vulnerability is often construed as expected poverty, and provides policy makers with a forward-looking viewpoint that both sheds light on and raises new questions on how best to formulate the targeting of social spending. This chapter provides an overview of the theoretical work underpinning each of these competing views.

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