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The Vulnerable Are Not (Necessarily) the Poor

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  • Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay

Abstract

In this paper I examine the concept of "vulnerability" within the context of income mobility of the poor. While the concept of poverty is well developed, the concept of vulnerability is less established in the economic literature. I test for the dynamics of vulnerable households in the UK using Waves 1 - 12 of the British Household Panel Survey and find that, of three different types of risks for which I test, household-specific shocks and economy-wide aggregate shocks have the greatest impact on consumption, in comparison to shocks to the income stream. I find vulnerable households up to at least 10 percentile points above the poverty line. Savings and earnings from a second job are not significantly associated with smoothing consumption of all vulnerable households. The results strongly indicate that income transfers and benefits assist the vulnerable in smoothing consumption. Thus, traditional poverty alleviating policies are not likely to assist the vulnerable.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research in its series Working Papers with number 40.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cgs:wpaper:40

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Keywords: income variability; vulnerability; poverty; insurances;

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  1. Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-76, October.
  2. Amin, Sajeda & Rai, Ashok S. & Topa, Giorgio, 2003. "Does microcredit reach the poor and vulnerable? Evidence from northern Bangladesh," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 59-82, February.
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  17. Orazio P. Attanasio & Nicola Pavoni, 2011. "Risk Sharing in Private Information Models With Asset Accumulation: Explaining the Excess Smoothness of Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(4), pages 1027-1068, 07.
  18. Angus Deaton, 2010. "Price Indexes, Inequality, and the Measurement of World Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 5-34, March.
  19. Glewwe, Paul & Hall, Gillette, 1998. "Are some groups more vulnerable to macroeconomic shocks than others? Hypothesis tests based on panel data from Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 181-206, June.
  20. Mace, Barbara J, 1991. "Full Insurance in the Presence of Aggregate Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 928-56, October.
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