Differences in Perceived Causes of Poverty between First and Third Year Economics Students in a Higher Education Institution

Nokwanda Maseko, Diana Viljoen, Muzindutsi Paul-Francois


Poverty is more than just a socio-economic issue, it is a human rights’ issue as well. It is also an issue which most, if not all governments the world over have been unable to completely eradicate. Since its inauguration following the 1994 elections, the South African government has made the eradication of poverty one of its top priorities. Extensive research focusing on the causes of poverty has been done; and over the past few years, researchers have also recognised the need to focus on people’s perceived causes of poverty as a way of figuring out strategies for alleviating poverty, and in the long-run eradicating it. The focus of this study was on determining if there are differences in the ways in which first and third year economics students perceive the causes of poverty. To achieve this, the study made used of a self-administered survey questionnaire. Descriptive statistics, one-way independent t-tests and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were applied to determine if there are in fact differences in the way these two groups of students perceive the causes of poverty, and also the extent of those differences. The results revealed that both first and third year students are more likely to blame poverty on structural factors; however, third year students were more likely than first year students to attribute poverty to structural factors. These results also revealed that the level of study in economics influence perceptions of the causes of poverty.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n21p245

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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