Micawber threshold

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the Dickens character Wilkins Micawber, known for his inability to work his way out of poverty.

Proper noun[edit]

Micawber threshold

  1. (economics) A level of income, above the poverty line, but not high enough to cope with economic shocks.
    • 1994, Philip L. Martin, Mexican Maquiladoras: Origins, Operations and Outlook (International Institute for Labour Studies, 1994) p. 9
      As for the moderate poverty line, the existence of positive expected net savings capacity is in a sense a Micawber threshold [Dickens 1849-50, ch. 14], separating accumulation from decumulation of the present value of a person's human and physical capital stock.
    • 2006, Vishnu Padayachee, The Development Decade?: Economic and Social Change in South Africa, 1994-2004 (HSRC Press, 2006) p. 132
      If drawing down such assets pushes the household below the Micawber threshold, then the estimated poverty-trap asset dynamics again predict that the temporary shock will have permanent, long-run effects.
    • 2010, David Macdonald, Andrew Loveridge, The Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids (Oxford University Press), p.631
      The key point for lessons for conservation in general, and that of felids in particular, is that there exists a poverty line, or a variant of it that Carter and Barrett call the Micawber threshold (a charmingly Dickensian allusion to perpetually insolvent debtors) below which the poor are economically incapable of bettering their situation without significant outside help; people in this situation have no incentive to save or preserve anything, including wildlife and especially big cats, which are damaging and dangerous.

Related terms[edit]