CSRD is organising a seminar by Arjan Verschoor

Event From Date: 
Thursday, 18 January 2018
Event End Date: 
Thursday, 18 January 2018
Event Title: 
CSRD is organising a seminar by Arjan Verschoor
Event Details: 

Centre for the Study of Regional Development

School of Social Sciences, JNU

invites you all to a seminar on

Learned helplessness and poverty traps among farmers in eastern Uganda


Arjan Verschoor

Professor of Development Economics

School of International Development

University of East Anglia, Norwich (UK)

Date: January 18, 2018,  3:30 pm

Venue: Cartographic Lab, CSRD, SSS III (Ist Floor) 

Abstract : Learned helplessness is a psychological condition in which control over outcomes is perceived to be lower than it actually is. It tends to take root in situations in which the relationship between effort and outcomes is “noisy”: when many factors interfere with that relationship, so that it is difficult to detect. Promising new opportunities to improve one’s livelihood may then be shunned, when people underestimate the degree of control they have over turning these into a success. We designed economic experiments in which a sense of learned helplessness was induced in order to study investment behaviour that required effort to be successful. We implemented these experiments among a sample of farmers from Bugisu, in eastern Uganda. We find that persistence in an investment task is lower when learned helplessness is experimentally induced, which suggests that learned helplessness is among the psychological factors that may contribute to a poverty trap.


Brief note about the speaker : Arjan Verschoor is a Professor of Development Economics at the University of East Anglia in the UK. He has some 25 years of experience of policy advice, research management, applied economic research and consultancy, working in Pakistan, India, Uganda, Ghana and Zambia, and with large cross-country datasets and datasets from India, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Uganda. Recent research themes are agricultural investment and insurance; gender inequality; experimental economics in developing countries; measuring pro-poor growth; and aid effectiveness.