Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2017

Thesis Advisor(s)

Richard Dunn

Honors Major

Resource Economics


Agricultural and Resource Economics | Agricultural Economics | English Language and Literature | French and Francophone Literature | Growth and Development


The writings of Charles Dickens, Emile Zola, Knut Hamsun, and Laura Ingalls Wilder capture humanity on the page. The characters in the works of these authors are confronted by realistic or autobiographical situations and make choices based on history, personal preferences, societal pressures, and economic constraints, just as real-life individuals do. They can thus serve as data for illustrating the implications of economic models, specifically poverty traps. To do so, I will draw from Great Expectations (1861) by Charles Dickens, The Fat and the Thin (1873) by Emile Zola, Hunger (1890) by Knut Hamsun, and The First Four Years (1971) by Laura Ingalls Wilder.