Work Behavior of the World's Poor: Theory, Evidence and Policy

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The working poor of the world are observed to engage in long hours in hard jobs and to work more if wages are further reduced. Mainstream economics brushes off this tendency to increase labour supply as wages fall as perverse because it does not fit the conventional wisdom and tries to explain it as a result of subsistence mentality, limited aspiration, or target income behaviour of the poor. This however ignores the observed fact that the poor work long hard hours but most of the time, fail to meet their minimum needs of subsistence and live impoverished lives in absolute poverty deficient of both food and physical rest.

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