Poverty can be related to institutions in different ways, depending on how we define the two concepts. Here, we adopt a social-constructivist view that focuses on the political processes that determine, guarantee, and contest people’s entitlements. From this perspective, sustainable poverty reduction has to do with the way in which people are represented in these processes. Antipoverty interventions are a political process in their own right, which must simultaneously build upon existing social arrangements and call them into question. Through case studies in regions which may be characterized as pockets of poverty, we show how local political arrangements are central to the reduction and reproduction of poverty.