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Elite attitudes towards the poor and pro-poor policy in Malawi

Kalebe-Nyamongo, Chipiliro Florence (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis uses the theory of ‘social consciousness’ to analyse elite perceptions of poverty in Malawi,and identify the circumstances under which elites are willing to mobilize resources for poverty reduction. ‘Social Consciousness theory’ stipulates that pro-poor policies in European welfare states developed as a result of ideological and pragmatic concern about the negative impact of poverty on elite welfare. This study shows however that although elites in Malawi have a deep understanding and appreciation of the extent and severity of poverty and are linked with the poor through strong social networks and the extended family structure, they do not perceive the poor as a threat to their welfare. Therefore collective action to address the problem of poverty has not occurred. In circumstances where elites acknowledge some negative externalities of poverty requiring action, individual solutions are sought. However, elite perceptions still illuminate the following: first, there is a causal explanation between elites’ perceptions of the causes of poverty and their support for particular policies. Second, elites’ perceived causes of poverty include structural, behavioural and the perceived future actions of the poor, such as laziness, following implementation of redistributive policies. Third, elites’ seem to support policies with wider benefits for society.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Marquette, Heather
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:International Development Department
Keywords:Elites, Politics, Inequality, Poverty, and Policy
Subjects:DT Africa
H Social Sciences (General)
HC Economic History and Conditions
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3398
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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