Poor Economics brings to light some of the complexities of poor people's lives by exploring the difficult decisions they face, which are often about things we take for granted.
Although we have no magic bullets to eradicate poverty, no one-shot cure-all, we do know a number of things about how to improve the lives of the poor. In particular, five key lessons emerge.
First, the poor often lack critical pieces of information and believe things that are not true. They are unsure about the benefits of immunising children; they think there is little value in what is learned during the first few years of education; they don’t know which is the easiest way to get infected with HIV. When their firmly held beliefs turn out to be incorrect, they end up making the wrong decision, sometimes with drastic consequences. Even when they know that they don’t know, the resulting uncertainty can be damaging.
Second, the poor bear responsibility for too many aspects of their lives. The richer you are, the more the “right” decisions are made for you. …