Persistent Poverty and Upward Mobility: Project Update

Article excerpt

The 10 members of the Persistent Poverty and Upward Mobility Project--including four Human Ecology faculty--have taken up residence in offices at the end of a long corridor in Myron Taylor Hall.

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For 20 hours each week, the experts from various disciplines--economics, nutrition, sociology, political science, and others--will work on a campus-wide initiative in Cornell's Institute for Social Sciences. Their common focus will be investigating "poverty traps" and how to develop better programs that help people escape poverty, both in the United States and in developing nations.

"I immediately saw the possibility of theoretical advances in the way we think about poverty and how those advances can inform interventions on the ground," said Jordan Matsudaira, a labor economist in Policy Analysis and Management focused on urban poverty and education.

The group has planned a weekly lecture series that features experts from across the nation addressing a wide range of topics that impact the poor, including political representation of the poor, microeconomics across the globe, child soldiering, and city planning.

They are also hosting two large conferences. On November 16 and 17, experts from across the nation examined the institutions and behaviors that lead to a culture of poverty. And in the spring, a second national conference will focus on intervention programs that invest in poor children. …