Why poverty and insecurity are so persistent : Planet Money Melissa Dell, winner of the John Bates Clark Medal for economics, on why poverty and insecurity are so persistent in certain parts of the world.
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The Persistence Of Poverty

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The Persistence Of Poverty

The Persistence Of Poverty

The Persistence Of Poverty

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AIZAR RALDES/AFP via Getty Images
Two miners empty a wheelbarrow with silver ore into a tipping skip in a mine shaft in Cerro Rico hill in Potosi, Bolivia, September 15, 2010. An OIT census in 2001 pointed that in the mines of Cerro Rico hill worked 381 minors of both sexes between 7 and 18 years old. AFP PHOTO/Aizar Raldes (Photo credit should read AIZAR RALDES/AFP via Getty Images)
AIZAR RALDES/AFP via Getty Images

Why is it that, in certain parts of the world, poverty and insecurity persist? That's a question that Melissa Dell, the most recent winner of the John Bates Clark Medal, has explored throughout her career. The medal is awarded annually by the American Economics Association to the best economist working in the U.S. under the age of 40.

Dell has studied a variety of countries and topics—labor markets in Mexico, bombing campaigns in Vietnam, the relationship between temperature and development—in her research. Today we talk to her about one of her most famous papers, which looks at living conditions in parts of modern Peru and Boliva. The paper explains why even the distant past can determine how ordinary people live their lives in the present.

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