Poverty Reduction Through Dispossession: The Milk Boom and the Return of the Elite in Santo Tomás, Nicaragua

— Ideally, poverty indicators improve because poor people’s livelihoods are improved. They can, however, also improve because poor people are expelled from the territory. This article explores the case of the cattle region of Chontales, Nicaragua, which during 1998–2005 experienced economic growth and declining poverty rates, spurred by investments and organizational development. The article argues that in the absence of pro-poor coalitions, these investments facilitated the return and strengthening of the local elite and that the observed decline in poverty rates emerges as the result of dispossession and subsequent exodus of the poor rather than of inclusive economic growth.

2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).