This paper examines evidence on whether childhood poverty causes adult
poverty. Childhood is recognised rightly as a sensitive period for
developing cognition, physical vitality and personality. This is in part
traceable to specific biological mechanisms. However such science could
easily drive over-deterministic views about how childhood affects later
life. The paper therefore discusses how damage from childhood poverty
can - at least sometimes and partially - be resisted or reversed, both
during childhood and in adulthood. As people reached biological maturity
alterations to their developmental trajectories rely increasingly on
alterations in behavioural relationships. Opportunities remain vital
throughout life for sustained socioeconomic attainment. The subject of
the paper is important in suggesting comparison of costs of poverty
reversals through adult interventions versus poverty avoidance through
A preprint version of this paper is also appended.
Yaqub, S. ‘Poor children grow into poor adults’: harmful mechanisms or over-deterministic theory? Journal of International Development (2002) 14 (8) 1081-1093. [DOI: 10.1002/jid.951]
‘Poor children grow into poor adults’: Harmful mechanisms or over-deterministic theory?