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Collective action and vulnerability: Burial societies in rural Ethiopia

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  • Stefan Dercon
  • John Hoddinott

Abstract

"Collective action can help individuals, groups, and communities achieve common goals, thus contributing to poverty reduction. Drawing on longitudinal household and qualitative community data, the authors examine the impact of shocks on household living standards, study the correlates of participation in groups and formal and informal networks, and discuss the relationship of networks with access to other forms of capital. In this context, they assess how one form of collective action, iddir, or burial societies, help households attenuate the impact of illness. They find that iddir effectively deal with problems of asymmetric information by restricting membership geographically, imposing a membership fee, and conducting checks on how the funds were spent. The study also finds that while iddir help poor households cope with individual health shocks, but shows that the better-off households belong to more groups and have larger networks. In addition, where households have limited ability to develop spatial networks, collective action has limited ability to respond to covariate shocks. Therefore, realism is needed in terms of the ability of collective action to respond to shocks, and direct public action is more appropriate to deal with common shocks." authors' abstract

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number GPRG-WPS-076.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2007
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:gprg-wps-076

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Cited by:
  1. Dercon, Stefan & Hill, Ruth Vargas & Clarke, Daniel & Outes-Leon, Ingo & Seyoum Taffesse, Alemayehu, 2014. "Offering rainfall insurance to informal insurance groups: Evidence from a field experiment in Ethiopia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 132-143.
  2. Sabina Alkire, 2011. "Multidimensional Poverty and its Discontents," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp046, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  3. Gray, Clark & Mueller, Valerie, 2012. "Drought and Population Mobility in Rural Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 134-145.
  4. de Brauw, Alan & Mueller, Valerie & Woldehanna, Tassew, 2013. "Motives to Remit: Evidence from Tracked Internal Migrants in Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 13-23.
  5. de Brauw, Alan & Mueller, Valerie & Woldehanna, Tassew, 2011. "Insurance motives to remit: Evidence from a matched sample of Ethiopian internal migrants," IFPRI discussion papers 1090, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  6. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & McNiven, Scott & Godquin, Marie, 2008. "Shocks, groups, and networks in Bukidnon, Philippines:," CAPRi working papers 84, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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