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Effects of Ill Health and Weather Variability on Savings

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  • Ndirangu, Lydia K.
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    Abstract

    This paper examines the effects of households’ shocks on saving behaviour. It investigates the possibility that households save ex ante to buffer against adverse weather and health shocks. The relatively high prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in Kenya combined with rain fed agriculture implies great uncertainty for rural livelihoods. Adopting a methodology previously used on cross-sectional data (Paxson, 1992), the paper examines the level of households precautionary behaviour. This is done by estimating the marginal propensity to save out of transitory income over a period of 18 months. The results show that while households may exhibit some level of prudence, the marginal propensity to save out of transitory income is about a third of what the permanent income hypothesis postulates. Seasonality influences prudence behaviour, with stressful seasons likely to depress substantially the level of precautionary saving. The presence of HIV/AIDS illness lowers savings and raises per capita consumption. While reduced savings may seem to jeopardize future investments, the rise in consumption when the human asset is threatened, is in accordance with behaviour of forward-looking agents when future income is endogenous to current asset shock. The desire to smooth the health (asset) stock outweighs the desire (ability) to smooth future consumption and therefore savings decline. As a consequence, consumption for the HIV-afflicted households is relatively more volatile. While these findings are in agreement with a buffer stock model, they go against previous predictions that, AIDS medical costs will be met by reducing both consumption and savings in a balanced manner, and not necessarily be drawn disproportionately from own savings. A rise in consumption and a drop in savings may be a signal that the relationship is likely to be disproportionate.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE) in its series 2007 Second International Conference, August 20-22, 2007, Accra, Ghana with number 52151.

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    Date of creation: Nov 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:aaae07:52151

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    Postal: c/o FORMAT, 5th Floor, Muthaiga Mini Market, Limuru Road, P.O. Box 79 - 00621 Village Market, Nairobi, Kenya
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    Related research

    Keywords: Household; Shocks; Savings; HIV/AIDS; Agricultural and Food Policy; Community/Rural/Urban Development; Demand and Price Analysis; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Food Security and Poverty; International Relations/Trade; Marketing; Productivity Analysis; Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies;

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    1. Yamano, Takashi & Jayne, Thomas S., 2002. "Measuring The Impacts Of Prime-Age Adult Death On Rural Households In Kenya," Staff Papers 11632, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    2. Bloom, David E. & Mahal, Ajay S., 1997. "Does the AIDS epidemic threaten economic growth?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 105-124, March.
    3. Jianakoplos, Nancy Ammon & Bernasek, Alexandra, 1998. "Are Women More Risk Averse?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 620-30, October.
    4. Campbell, John Y, 1987. "Does Saving Anticipate Declining Labor Income? An Alternative Test of the Permanent Income Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1249-73, November.
    5. Alderman, Harold, 1996. "Saving and economic shocks in rural Pakistan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 343-365, December.
    6. Lawrence Haddad & Stuart Gillespie, 2001. "Effective food and nutrition policy responses to HIV|AIDS: what we know and what we need to know," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 487-511.
    7. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1996. "Income Risk, Borrowing Constraints, and Portfolio Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 158-72, March.
    8. Udry, Christopher, 1995. "Risk and Saving in Northern Nigeria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1287-1300, December.
    9. 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.
    10. Kochar, Anjini, 2004. "Ill-health, savings and portfolio choices in developing economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 257-285, February.
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