Patterns of socio-economic mobility are examined using data from 293 life-history interviews conducted in eight districts of rural Bangladesh. Socio-economic mobility is examined as the product of interactions between endowments (assets, capabilities, liabilities and disabilities) and life events (upward opportunities and downward pressures). Important positive endowments (assets and capabilities) included land, livestock, business capital and business acumen. Important negative endowments (liabilities and disabilities) included chronic illness and impending dowry. Endowments determined how people were affected by events in the form of upward opportunities or downward pressures. The life-history interviews show how people with low levels of the key endowments were less able to cope with common downward pressures or to exploit key opportunities. People with poor endowments of assets or capabilities also often employed destructive coping strategies while people with higher initial levels of key endowments coped better with downward pressures, exploited opportunities, and were more likely to exit poverty.
Davis, P. Patterns of socio-economic mobility in rural Bangladesh: lessons from life-history interviews. CPRC Working Paper No. 197. Chronic Poverty Research Centre, London, UK (2011) 35 pp. ISBN 978-1-906433-69-7