Subjective wellbeing

The psychological aspects of exclusion are also important. These include the absence of power, voice and independence, and vulnerability to exploitation and humiliation.

The following article highlights the importance of a capacity for agency that allows poor people to improve the quality of their relationships and to secure respect and dignity for themselves. The paper argues: ‘The injury done to people who experience discrimination on the basis of labels they are given by society and entrenched ideas about their inferiority or societal taboos around sex, death and dirt goes well beyond that of economic deprivation and lack of political voice. When people are treated as lesser because of the colour of their skin, their sex, what they do for a living, and where they live, they can come to internalise a sense of lack of worth that profoundly affects their sense of what they can do and what they are due by society’ (Eyben et al, 2008: 8)

Eyben, R., Kabeer, N. and Cornwall, A. (2008). Conceptualising Empowerment and the Implications for Pro-Poor Growth. Brighton: Institute of Development Studies.
This paper proposes a framework to enable the empowerment of the poor to be conceptually understood and operationally explored. It examines the different facets of ‘social’, ‘economic’ and ‘political’ empowerment. International development actors often lack awareness of much that is already known about these issues. These are the conceptual tools for identifying complex and mutually dependent processes that development actors can support and facilitate for achieving pro-poor growth.
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Appadurai, A. (2004). The Capacity to Aspire: Culture and the Terms of Recognition. In Rao, V. & Walton, M. (Eds.), Culture and Public Action. Stanford University Press.
Why does culture matter for development and for poverty reduction? The capacity to aspire is a future-oriented cultural capacity. This chapter argues that strengthening the capacity to aspire could help the poor to contest and alter the conditions of their poverty. Culture is a dialogue between aspirations and sedimented traditions. Traditions, linked to issues of social class, can conflict with development goals. Policymakers must approach the creation of a culture of aspiration through capacity building.
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Hoff, K., & Pandey, P. (2008). Economic Consequences of Social Identity: Discrimination, Social Identity, and Durable Inequalities. American Economic Review, 96(2), 206-211.
What are the mechanisms by which societal discrimination affects individual achievement and why do effects of past discrimination endure once legal barriers are removed? This paper reports findings of experiments in village India that explore the effect of social identity on individual performance. The link between discrimination, social identity and behaviour causes the effects of past discrimination to persist over time for well-identified groups.
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Useful websites

World Bank Poverty and Inequality Research: Pro-Poor Growth

Overseas Development Institute: Growth, Poverty and Inequality Programme