Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Sendhil Mullainathan and the Behavioral Economics of Extreme Poverty


Why do the poor remain poor? Sendhil Mullainathan's recent research shows that living under conditions of extreme poverty -- or scarcity -- makes it harder for the poor to do the very things that could help them escape poverty. That is, scarcity makes it hard for the poor to make the good decisions about their own health, nutrition and investments, among other issues.

Mullainathan explores the implications of his research on scarcity and behavioral economics for how we think about and tackle the problem of persistent, extreme poverty and poor health and nutrition in the developing world. His remarks are followed by a panel discussion on how these lessons can inform development policies and programs.

This CGD event, held in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development, is the third in a series USAID has organized to develop discourse and substantively engage the external community on President Obama's commitment to eradicate extreme poverty within a generation. USAID will use the questions and information from these conversations to inform their approach to ending extreme poverty.

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