This hopelessness manifests itself in many ways. One is a sort of pathological conservatism, where people forgo even feasible things with potentially large benefits for fear of losing the little they already possess.
The article expands on that idea:
Development economists have long surmised that some very poor people may remain trapped in poverty because even the largest investments they are able to make, whether eating a few more calories or working a bit harder on their minuscule businesses, are too small to make a big difference. So getting out of poverty seems to require a quantum leap—vastly more food, a modern machine, or an employee to mind the shop. As a result, they often forgo even the small incremental investments of which they are capable: a bit more fertiliser, some more schooling or a small amount of saving.
It may seem that the article is about the poorest of people, but that “pathological conservatism” could as easily apply to the hopelessness many people seem to have about ever getting solar panels on their own roofs, or to attracting enough business to our area to employ our high school and college graduates, or that businesses will ever come to the south side.
Yet the point of the article is that field studies
by MIT economist Esther Duflo show
Continue reading →
To the extent that students benefit from high-achieving peers, tracking
will help strong students and hurt weak ones. However, all students may
benefit if tracking allows teachers to better tailor their instruction
level. Lower-achieving pupils are particularly likely to benefit from
tracking when teachers have incentives to teach to the top of the
distribution. We propose a simple model nesting these effects and test
its implications in a randomized tracking experiment conducted with
121 primary schools in Kenya. While the direct effect of high-achieving
peers is positive, tracking benefited lower-achieving pupils indirectly
by allowing teachers to teach to their level. (JEL I21, J45, O15)
The first sentence is the standard “diversity” argument that CUEE
The authors state it so as to poing out that their study finds
that it’s far from the whole story.