Author(s): Malcolm Keswell and Justine Burns
The household is central to most policy initiatives aimed at reducing poverty, since it has long been thought that this is the most efficient way to transfer income and other resources towards those in need. Indeed, the household provides an important entry point for analysing poverty and inequality, since an individual's life chances are critically affected both by the material resources at the disposal of the household as well as the decisions made within the household concerning how those resources should be distributed. A key question is whether real households really operate the way they are meant to in the ArrowDebreu world and what implications this has for policy interventions aimed at changing the behaviour of individuals within these targeted households. Moreover, since households do not exist in isolation nor do they emerge out of thin air, it also becomes important to look at dynastic (or intergenerational) influences on families' outcomes, as well as the role of social networks.