UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Professor Lybbert's Research Cited in NY Times as Part of Growing Evidence that Hope Can Be Used as Anti-Poverty Strategy

Aug. 20, 2018

"Think Positive, Climb Out of Poverty? It Just Might Work," is the title of a New York Times Economic View column written by Seema Jayachandran, an economics professor at Northwestern University. In it, Jayachandran references a study by UC Davis ARE Professor Travis Lybbert and University of San Francisco Professor Bruce Wydick as a piece of growing evidence that enhancing the self-worth of the poor can be used as an anti-poverty strategy.

The study by Lybbert and Wydick took place in Oaxaca, Mexico. It involved showing a documentary to a group of indigenous women who were eligible for small loans from a community bank. "The women in the film were also community bank clients, and the documentary showed how they used a loan to expand their business," Jayachandran writes in the column. "The 326 women in the study participated in a four-week 'hope curriculum' in which they set their own goals, discussed them and visualized how they would lift themselves from poverty. The program succeeded in improving the participants' outlooks and raising their aspirations, though it isn't clear that it did much, over the short term, at least, to increase their incomes."

Click here to read the NY Times column.

Click here to read "Hope as Aspirations, Agency, and Pathways: Poverty Dynamics and Microfinance in Oaxaca, Mexico," a report of Lybbert and Wydick's research.


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