Poverty-Environment Traps

  • Edward B. BarbierEmail author
  • Jacob P. Hochard


Remote less-favored agricultural lands (LFAL) are regions in developing countries that face severe biophysical constraints on production and are in geographical locations that have limited market access. We estimate that, across developing countries, 130 million people with high infant mortality live in such areas, and the incidence is 40%. In low-income countries, the population in remote LFAL with high infant mortality increased 25% over 2000–2010 to 57 million, and the incidence is 94%. From case study evidence, we identify the key environmental and economic characteristics that influence the ability of rural households in remote LFAL to avoid poverty. We incorporate these characteristics in a model analyzing the behavior of a representative household, which illustrates conditions that enable the household to escape subsistence-level poverty. We also show empirically for 83 developing countries that the share of rural population on remote LFAL in 2000 affects the poverty-reducing impacts of per capita income growth over 2000–2012.


Developing countries Poverty traps Less favored agricultural lands Market access Rural poverty 

JEL Classification

Q15 Q56 I32 R14 


Supplementary material

10640_2019_366_MOESM1_ESM.docx (25 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 24 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Department of Economics and Institute for Coastal Science and PolicyEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA

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