Abstract: This paper seeks to create a framework for understanding the role of hope and aspirations in economic development. We review the literature on hope from philosophy, theology, psychology, and its relationship to emerging work on aspirations in development economics. We then create an economic model of hope based on recent psychology literature that understands hope as a function of aspirations, avenues, and agency. This model of hope illustrates the vital role hope can play in the realization of causal effects from development interventions and how these effects emerge from the impact and interaction of tree constituent elements of hope. By clarifying definitions and relationships among these concepts and by leveraging relevant work from other disciplines, we aim to create a framework within which economists can engage in rigorous empirical and experimental work that seeks to better understand the role of hope in economic development.

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