“No human being should eat from the garbage, but we, the street children, are barely human beings.”1 Joel is a 13-year-old boy who lives in the streets of La Paz, Bolivia. It is not uncommon for Joel and other street children to scour through dumpsters for scraps of food in order to survive. He believes that he and children like him represent the dregs of society, the “garbage.”
Are poverty alleviation programs short-term solutions or do they provide vulnerable individuals with opportunities to escape long-run deprivation? This policy question has been an ongoing source of debate between economists.1 For instance, Jeffrey Sachs has defended these programs, claiming that aid generates incentives for the poor to lift themselves out of poverty. William Easterly disagrees, arguing that aid creates dependency and that policymakers should instead focus on promoting economic growth.