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

Author

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

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ndirangu, Lydia & Burger, Kees & Moll, Henk AJ & Kuyvenhoven, Arie, 2010. "Seasonality, precautionary savings and health uncertainty: Evidence from farm households in central Kenya," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 5(2), December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:afjare:156670
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. 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.
    5. Udry, Christopher, 1995. "Risk and Saving in Northern Nigeria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1287-1300, December.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Christopher Udry, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in a Rural Credit Market: An Empirical Investigation in Northern Nigeria," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 495-526.
    9. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 2000. "Vulnerability, seasonality and poverty in Ethiopia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 25-53.
    10. Shorrocks, A F, 1978. "The Measurement of Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1013-1024, September.
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