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Escaping the Poverty Trap

Ricardo Moran
Price: $ 15.95

Poor parents transmit poverty and disadvantage to their children during their earliest years of life, perpetuating an underclass and impairing the basis for a fair and stable society. This intergenerational transmission of poverty (ITP) is particularly powerful in today's Latin America, where economies are in crisis and unequal distribution of income is emblematic.

Escaping the Poverty Trap proposes early childhood investment policies that could decisively change the prospects for the next generation of the region's poor. Contributors include Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and Gro Harlem Brundtland, former director-general of the World Health Organization. In examining the effects of family background on ITP in 16 Latin American countries, the study emphasizes that conception through preschool is when vulnerability to lifetime damage is greatest, but also when there is the most potential for cost-effective interventions to break out of that destructive cycle. Insufficient education is cited as the principal vector of poverty throughout the life cycle and across generations.

The authors find that quality childcare and complementary services not only provide a healthy environment for children, but also open up opportunities for their parents to earn a better living. The book outlines principles to guide the design of early childhood care and development programs, including the need to empower parents, address children's unmet development needs, adjust to local socioeconomic contexts, intervene preventively, make programs financially sustainable, and focus resources on households most likely to see improvement.

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