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Poverty and well-being as a (local) institutional process

Research Group

Lifecycle:1 Jan 2006 →  31 Dec 2012
Organisation profile:This TG focuses on concrete human beings as both the "prime movers" and the final "beneficiaries" of development. It is the institutional environment in its concrete local manifestations that fundamentally shapes opportunities and constraints faced by specific groups of people in the development process. The TG analyses this environment as a set of social networks and organizations that allow people to call upon the cooperation of fellow human beings, as a set of rules and norms that determine which resources can be accessed by whom and which actions are socially (un)acceptable in function of each person's identity, and as a set of cultural heuristics used by people to assemble their identities and life-worlds. A key theoretical claim is that poverty is not an attribute of certain people (the "poor"), but the result of a particular social situation produced, re-produced (and potentially changed) by local institutional processes. The research of the TG can be summarized as actor-oriented institutional analysis, trying to capture the complex interactions between human agency and the local institutional environment. The TG wants to grasp the above mentioned interactions in order to design better policies and intervention to promote aggregate development and reduce social exclusion and poverty. The policy process and the interventions by the "development industry" are an integral part of the prevailing institutional dynamics and thus inevitably marked by social exclusion. The challenge is thus to promote change processes from within the existing exclusionary and inefficient institutional realities of poverty-stricken areas.
Disciplines:Applied economics, Economic development, innovation, technological change and growth, Economic history, Macroeconomics and monetary economics, Microeconomics, Tourism