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Poverty and Wealth without a Ladder? An Appraisal of the Stages of Progress Method among Agro–Pastoralists in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley

Stevenson, Edward G. J.; Molenaar, Jil; Pertaub, David-Paul; Tekle, Dessalegn

Poverty and Wealth without a Ladder? An Appraisal of the Stages of Progress Method among Agro–Pastoralists in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley Thumbnail


Authors

Jil Molenaar

David-Paul Pertaub

Dessalegn Tekle



Abstract

Is it possible to measure wealth and poverty across settings while being faithful to local understandings? The stages of progress method (SoP) attempts to do this by building ladders of wealth in locally relevant terms and using these in comparisons across groups. This approach is potentially useful among pastoralist populations where monetary income and standard asset inventories may be misleading, and where people are discriminated against by the state and neglected by formal systems of accounting. On the basis of fieldwork among Nyangatom agro–pastoralists in Ethiopia, we expose some problematic assumptions of the SoP method. Participants did not endorse ladder-like stages from poverty to wealth distinguished by material assets, nor did they reach consensus on the definition of a poverty line. We caution that the SoP method carries risks of facipulation, and instead we advocate for multidimensional measures of prosperity based on locally relevant forms of wealth.

Citation

Stevenson, E. G. J., Molenaar, J., Pertaub, D., & Tekle, D. (2024). Poverty and Wealth without a Ladder? An Appraisal of the Stages of Progress Method among Agro–Pastoralists in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley. Field Methods, https://doi.org/10.1177/1525822x231225904

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 20, 2023
Online Publication Date Jan 4, 2024
Publication Date Jan 4, 2024
Deposit Date Jan 9, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jan 9, 2024
Journal Field Methods
Print ISSN 1525-822X
Electronic ISSN 1552-3969
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/1525822x231225904
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/2116766

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