If Lack of Focus and Poverty Go Together, Which Is the Cause and Which the Effect?

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Source of book image: http://www.scientificamerican.com/sciam/cache/file/BF860CC7-371A-46BB-8ACCECD4289565A8.jpg

Are the poor poor partly because they concentrate less, or do they concentrate less partly because they are poor? Samantha Power discusses one of her favorite books of 2013:

(p. C11) In “Scarcity,” Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir offer groundbreaking insights into, among other themes, the effects of poverty on (p. C12) cognition and our ability to make choices about our lives. The authors persuasively show that the mental space–or “bandwidth”–of the poor is so consumed with making ends meet that they may be more likely to lose concentration while on a job or less likely to take medication on time.

For the full article, see:
“12 Months of Reading; We asked 50 of our friends–from April Bloomfield to Mike Tyson–to name their favorite books of 2013.” The Wall Street Journal (Sat., Dec. 14, 2013): C6 & C9-C12.
(Note: the online version of the article has the date Dec. 13, 2013.)

The book that Power praises is:
Mullainathan, Sendhil, and Eldar Shafir. Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much. New York: Times Books, 2013.

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