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Causes of poverty – poor people’s point of view

Olja Družić Ljubotina

What causes poverty? Various theories answer that question in different ways. This study aimed to find out what poor people think about causes of their poverty. Research on poverty attribution is very frequent, but most studies investigated the general population or some specific groups (students, social workers). Only some covered poor population as targeted one. This study shows results of the research done in 2007 and 2008 in Zagreb, Croatia. Poor people were a target group and they had the opportunity to give their own insight about sources of their poverty. These results were compared to results given by employees of different economic status (low, middle and high). Attribution questionnaire surveying three factors of poverty - structural, individual and fatalistic - was used. lt was found that all participants were mostly inclined to attribute their status to structural sources of poverty: bad economy, social transition, lack of social justice etc. ln comparison to other participants, poor people were less open to attributing reasons for their poverty to  individual factors (laziness, alcoholism, etc.); rather large number of them attributed reasons to fatalistic factors (fate, luck, etc.). We will discuss the role of attributional bias as a mechanism the poor people use in facing their poverty.

Recorded: October 2009, Dubrovnik - Cavtat, Croatia.
Coping & Resilience International Conference

Organiser: The Brisbane Institute of Strengths Based Practice

Olja Družić Ljubotina
Olja Družić Ljubotina
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Olja Družić Ljubotina

Department of Social Work, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Croatia

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