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Moving Up Out of Poverty: What Does Democracy Have to Do With It?
Working Paper

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CDDRL Working Papers, page(s): 29

August 2004

Morally and analytically, there is no more vexing phenomenon than the persistence of mass poverty. Over the past half-century, remarkable gains have been made in reducing infant mortality, extending life expectancy, raising levels of income and education, reducing the incidence of severe diseases-and even effectively eliminating a few diseases (USAID, 2003). Huge investments of intellectual analysis, empirical research, and development assistance have been invested in the quest to eliminate, or at least dramatically reduce, absolute poverty, which leaves an individual left to survive on less than $2, or even $1, per day. Yet absolute poverty persists on a mass scale throughout much of what has been termed-unfortunately, rather "euphemistically"-the "developing" world. Why?

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