Solving the Poverty Puzzle

Hot off the Press! Steven Lade, Jamila Haider and Maja Schlüter, along with Gustav Engström, have published a new study: “Resilience offers escape from trapped thinking of poverty alleviation” in the journal Science Advances. The article is available open access here:

The #povertycube models in the paper provide a novel way to think through poverty alleviation interventions which incorporate nature and culture across diverse contexts.

Conceptual synthesis figure of the paper: Solving the puzzle of poverty alleviation requires integrating complex and intertwined insights from multiple disciplines. This study uses resilience thinking to navigate how different poverty alleviation interventions depend on nature, culture and economics.

The main message of our paper can be summarised:

  • Alleviating poverty in an integrated way without degrading ecological and cultural diversity remains a major global challenge
  • The poverty trap is a prominent way to conceptualise persistent poverty but has thus far ignored dynamics with nature and culture
  • For the first time, we integrate nature and culture into a multidimensional dynamic poverty trap model and use resilience thinking to inform diverse trajectories of change
  • The model shows that 1) conventional development interventions can have adverse effects on nature and culture in some contexts, 2) transformative change may be necessary in those contexts and 3) asset inputs may be affective in others.
  • The model may be useful for development actors to think through implications of diverse development trajectories and give space to currently underrepresented pathways of change.

How we did it:

We’d love to hear from you about what you think about the paper and how you might be interested to use the #povertycube or the approach we use in this paper. Within the SES-LINK group and the GRAID programme at the Stockholm Resilience Centre we are continue to model poverty traps, investigating more deeply into soil dynamics.