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Seasonality, precautionary savings and health uncertainty: Evidence from farm households in central Kenya

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  • Ndirangu, Lydia
  • Burger, Kees
  • Moll, Henk AJ
  • Kuyvenhoven, Arie
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    Abstract

    The high prevalence of risks in low income economies makes managing uncertainty critical for productivity and survival. This paper analyzes seasonal changes in farm households’ per capita consumption and saving in response to weather and health shocks. Using a sample of 196 households in central Kenya, it tests the notion that people save most of their transitory income, and examines their precautionary saving motives. The results show that the propensity to save out of transitory income is about a fifth of what the permanent income hypothesis postulates. The propensity to save differs by wealth, with the poor exhibiting stronger precautionary motives towards rainfall variability. But the wealth effect is weak, suggesting that the asset base is vulnerable even for the better-off. However, precautionary savings tend to increase with wealth among HIV/AIDS affected households. Since illness is associated with higher consumption, and therefore less investment, we find more volatile consumption for HIV/AIDS affected households.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by African Association of Agricultural Economists in its journal African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

    Volume (Year): 05 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (December)
    Pages:

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    Handle: RePEc:ags:afjare:156670

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    Postal: c/o FORMAT, 5th Floor, Muthaiga Mini Market, Limuru Road, P.O. Box 79 - 00621 Village Market, Nairobi, Kenya
    Phone: 254 20 6752866
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    Web page: http://www.aaae-africa.org/afjare
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    Related research

    Keywords: precautionary savings; HIV/AIDS; rainfall variability; farm households; Kenya; Consumer/Household Economics; International Development;

    References

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    1. Paxson, Christina H, 1993. "Consumption and Income Seasonality in Thailand," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 39-72, February.
    2. Paxson, Christina H, 1992. "Using Weather Variability to Estimate the Response of Savings to Transitory Income in Thailand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 15-33, March.
    3. Ersado, Lire & Alderman, Harold & Alwang, Jeffrey, 2003. "Changes in Consumption and Saving Behavior before and after Economic Shocks: Evidence from Zimbabwe," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(1), pages 187-215, October.
    4. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Binswanger, Hans P., 1992. "Wealth, weather risk, and the composition and profitability of agricultural investments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1055, The World Bank.
    5. Marcel Fafchamps & Chris Udry & Katherine Czukas, . "Drought and Saving in West Africa: Are Livestock a Buffer Stock?," Working Papers 97013, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
    6. Kinsey, Bill & Burger, Kees & Gunning, Jan Willem, 1998. "Coping with drought in Zimbabwe: Survey evidence on responses of rural households to risk," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 89-110, January.
    7. Udry, Christopher, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in a Rural Credit Market: An Empirical Investigation in Northern Nigeria," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 495-526, July.
    8. Shorrocks, A F, 1978. "The Measurement of Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1013-24, September.
    9. Udry, Christopher, 1995. "Risk and Saving in Northern Nigeria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1287-1300, December.
    10. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 2000. "Vulnerability, seasonality and poverty in Ethiopia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 25-53.
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