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Abstract

This paper presents a conceptual framework on how institutions of property rights and collective action can contribute to poverty reduction, including through external interventions and action by poor people themselves. The first part of the paper examines the initial conditions of poverty, highlighting the role of assets, risks and vulnerability, legal structures and power relations. The latter part investigates the decision-making dynamics of actors—both poor and non-poor—and how they can use the tangible and intangible resources they have to shape their livelihoods and the institutions that govern their lives. The paper concludes with a discussion of how attention to property rights and collective action can improve the understanding of outcomes in terms of changes in wellbeing.

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