Causes of Poverty – What Do the Poor Think? Poverty Attribution and Its Behavioural Effects

  • Silvia COJANU Researcher, National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection, Bucharest, Romania
  • Cristina STROE Senior Researcher, National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection, Bucharest, Romania
Keywords: Poverty, poverty causes, poverty attribution, perceptions, mental framing


The manner in which we conceptualize any aspect of reality impacts on the way we address it. Thus, causal attribution of any problem will determine the solutions we choose for it. In this paper we focus our research on exploring how people think about poverty and its causes in Romania. We want to identify potential differences in the causal attributions of poverty, considering both society as a whole and the view of the group of persons that are, in fact, confronted to this phenomenon. Thus, in our study, we analyse comparatively both the national perspective and the specific perspective of the vulnerable group of the beneficiaries of guaranteed minimum income (Law no. 416 of 2001 regarding the guaranteed minimum income, with changes and completions). We analyse data and information of thematic Eurobarometers, but also primary and very recent data collected through a survey with national statistic representativity for the social aid beneficiaries (guaranteed minimum income) - October 2016. We referred the data to the most commonly used taxonomy of poverty causes identified in the scientific literature, consisting of three categories – individualistic attribution, fatalistic attribution and structural causal attribution. In order to better understand the relation between the perceptions of poverty causes and the behaviour of the poor, we analysed them in connection to the three characteristics applied in the scientific literature on poverty attribution analysis: locus, stability and controllability.


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How to Cite
COJANU, S., & STROE, C. (2017). Causes of Poverty – What Do the Poor Think? Poverty Attribution and Its Behavioural Effects. LUMEN Proceedings, 1, 186-197.