Characteristics and Patterns of Intergenerational Poverty Traps and Escapes in Rural North India



The poverty status of all 4,198 households resident in 18 villages of Rajasthan, India, was examined at four points of time between 1977 and 2010 using a retrospective methodology known as Stages of Progress. Households that were consistently poor at all four points over the 33 years were regarded as the intergenerational poverty (IGP) group. Their characteristics and experiences were compared with those of other village households, which – after being consistently poor at the first three points in time – had overcome poverty before the fourth (and final) measurement. The article shows how an impoverished inheritance, made worse by a succession of adverse events (mostly of an everyday kind), has trapped households within IGP.