Aspirations failure, disadvantage traps and inclusive regional policy

This paper examines the implications for regional policy of new research on the role played by a failure in the ‘capacity to aspire’ [Appadurai, A. (2004), ‘The capacity to aspire’, in Rao, V. and Walton, M. (eds), Culture and Public Action, Washington, DC: World Bank.] in perpetuating disadvantage traps. After a brief review of the magnitude of the challenge that regional policy needs to confront, it provides a summary of the theoretical and empirical literature on poverty and aspirations failure (and the associated loss of agency, beliefs and self-efficacy).