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Can social safety nets alleviate seasonal deprivation ? evidence from northwest Bangladesh

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  • Khandker, Shahidur R.
  • Khaleque, M. Abdul
  • Samad, Hussain A.

Abstract

This paper examines the role of social safety-net programs in Bangladesh run by the government and nongovernmental organizations to mitigate seasonal deprivation in the country's highly vulnerable northwest region. Specifically, the paper explores whether social safety nets are limited to averting seasonal deprivation or can also address seasonality of income and employment more generally. Using a recent survey from the greater Rangpur (northwest) region, the paper finds that social safety nets have a positive effect on mitigating both seasonal and non-seasonal food deprivation. The results are robust, owing to the recent expanded coverage of social safety-net programs run by nongovernmental organizations active in the region. But given the annual recurrence of monga (seasonal food insecurity) in the northwest region owing to agricultural seasonality and an overwhelming dependence on agriculture for livelihoods, social safety nets are not a reliable tool for monga eradication. Programs are also needed to promote the income and productivity of the poor through diversification of income and employment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5865.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5865

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Keywords: Safety Nets and Transfers; Rural Poverty Reduction; Food&Beverage Industry; Regional Economic Development; Housing&Human Habitats;

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  1. Chetty, Raj & Looney, Adam, 2006. "Consumption smoothing and the welfare consequences of social insurance in developing economies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(12), pages 2351-2356, December.
  2. Shyamal Chowdhury & Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak & Gharad Bryan, 2009. "Migrating Away from a Seasonal Famine: A Randomized Intervention in Bangladesh," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2009-41, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), revised Sep 2009.
  3. Ahmed, Akhter U. & Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Nasreen, Mahbuba & Hoddinott, John F. & Bryan, Elizabeth, 2009. "Comparing Food and Cash Transfers to the Ultra-Poor in Bangladesh," Research reports 163, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  4. Behrman, Jere R. & Hoddinott, John, 2001. "An evaluation of the impact of PROGRESA on pre-school child height," FCND discussion papers 104, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. Michael Lokshin & Zurab Sajaia, 2004. "Maximum likelihood estimation of endogenous switching regression models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 282-289, September.
  6. Ravallion, Martin & van de Walle, Dominique & Gautam, Madhur, 1995. "Testing a social safety net," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 175-199, June.
  7. Khandker, Shahidur R., 2012. "Seasonality of income and poverty in Bangladesh," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 244-256.
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