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Comment on Chapters 1-2

Comment on Chapters 1-2

(p.119) Comment on Chapters 1-2
The Economics of Poverty Traps
John Hoddinott
University of Chicago Press

The chapters by Emma Dean, Frank Schilbach, and Heather Schofield and by Elizabeth Frankenberg and Duncan Thomas are thoughtful, well-written studies by researchers with deep knowledge of their subject matter. But beyond that, a first impression would suggest that they are chapters with radically different objectives and analyses. The Dean, Schilbach, and Schofield chapter provides economists with a solid understanding of the interplay between aspects of cognitive function and economic behavior, including its implications for poverty. By contrast, Frankenberg and Thomas provide a careful empirical analysis of the impact of two shocks, the 1998 Indonesian financial crisis and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, on children’s human capital. Nor is it immediately clear what links these chapters make with the broader themes of this book. Once past their respective introductions, the phrase “poverty traps” occurs only three times in the Dean, Schilbach, and Schofield chapter and not at all in Frankenberg and Thomas....

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