Abstract: Human populations suffering persistent, extreme poverty depend disproportionately on natural resources for livelihoods based on farming, fishing, forestry, herding or hunting. They are also unusually vulnerable to infectious disease and to natural disasters. The dynamics of well-being among the world’s extreme rural poor thus depend inextricably on the dynamics of the biophysical systems that are themselves heavily affected by human behaviors. This seminar discusses the authors’ research on poverty traps in smallholder agrarian systems in Africa, draws out the links between ecological concepts of resilience and resistance and the economics of poverty traps, and discusses a range of interventions aimed at helping the rural poor to exit poverty traps and build resilience without compromising the natural resources on which future generations depend.
Biography: Chris Barrett is the Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Professor of Applied Economics and Management and International Professor of Agriculture in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management as well as Professor in the Department of Economics and Fellow of the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, all at Cornell University. Chris also serves as the Director of the Cornell Institute for International Food, Agriculture and Development’s initiative on Stimulating Agricultural and Rural Transformation. He holds degrees from Princeton (A.B., History, 1984), Oxford (M.S., Development Economics, 1985) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (dual Ph.D., Economics and Agricultural Economics, 1994. Chris has published 14 books and more than 260 journal articles or book chapters on issues ranging from poverty and natural resources, livelihood diversification, climate change adaptation, and food security. These works have attracted over 13,500 citations, according to Google Scholar.