Snakes, Ladders and Traps: Changing Lives and Livelihoods in Rural Bangladesh (1994-2001)
This paper examines national-level explanations for poverty decline in Bangladesh in micro-level detail in order to better understand the nature of the causalities at work and why some households have gained while others have failed to gain in the processes of change involved. The analysis is based on empirical data on the lives and livelihoods of rural households in two locations: Chandina thana in the Comilla district and Modhupur thana in the Tangail district. The data is drawn from 1,184 households in 1994 and 2001 and qualitative data collected by the author at various points during the same period. The paper demonstrates that the distribution of 'winners' and 'losers' is not determined purely by chance; it also reflects differences in endowments and efforts.