Effort Deficit

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A recent measure of poverty is that of effort deficit which takes into account not only a country's poverty level, but compares the country's available resources to the poverty level.

Implications of Effort Deficit

The effort deficit model is an interesting one in the case of poverty, as it separates the countries where poverty occurs due to lack of resources (income deficit) and highlights the countries where poverty is because of a distinct lack of effort in drafting policy to address poverty. The effort deficit explains why poverty is widespread, even in countries with high GDP per capita, like the US[1]. Effort deficit exists because of vague wording in public policy and unclear benchmarks for evaluating whether particular governments are providing an adequate level of respect for the economic and social rights of their citizens. The non-binding document the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is the identifying baseline for human rights for United Nations countries to reach, and the vague wording and non-binding nature of the document create the effort deficit problem[2].


  1. Fukuda-Parr, Sakiko, Terra Lawson-Remer, and Susan Randolph. "An Index of Economic and Social Rights Fulfillment: Concept and Methodology. Journal of Human Rights. 8.3 (2009):195-221. Print.
  2. Hertel, Shareen, and Lanse Minkler. "Economic Rights: Conceptual, Measurement, and Policy Issues. New York:Cambridge University Press, 2007. Print.
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