Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines how views on why people are poor can influence the design of antipoverty policy. It argues that, broadly speaking, theories of why people are poor fall into two categories. First, there are theories grounded in the view that the poor suffer from individual defects: inadequate human capital, self-defeating culture, and genetic inferiority. Second, there are theories grounded in the view that the poor are especially vulnerable to societal defects: unemployment, overpopulation, and obstacles to wealth accumulation. The persistence of high levels of poverty in the United States is the result of policies that follow from the perspective that the poor suffer from individual defects. The current path of antipoverty policy is likely to perpetuate poverty and the sentiment that the poor are deserving of their status.

Keywords: poor, poverty alleviation, public perception, societal defects

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.