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Persistent poverty and informal credit

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  • Santos, Paulo
  • Barrett, Christopher B.

Abstract

This paper explores the consequences of nonlinear wealth dynamics for the formation of bilateral credit arrangements to help manage idiosyncratic risk. Using original data on expected wealth dynamics, social networks and informal loans among southern Ethiopian pastoralist households, we find that the threshold at which expected wealth dynamics bifurcate serves as a focal point at which lending is concentrated. Informal lending responds to recipients' losses but only so long as the recipients are not "too poor". Our results suggest that when shocks can have long term effects, loans are best understood as providing a safety net rather than a scale-neutral insurance mechanism. Furthermore, the persistently poor are excluded from social networks that are necessary to obtain loans given in response to shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Santos, Paulo & Barrett, Christopher B., 2011. "Persistent poverty and informal credit," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 337-347, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:96:y:2011:i:2:p:337-347
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    Cited by:

    1. Paulo Santos & Christopher B. Barrett, 2017. "Heterogeneous Wealth Dynamics: On the Roles of Risk and Ability," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Poverty Traps National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Takahashi, Kazushi & Ikegami, Munenobu & Sheahan, Megan & Barrett, Christopher B., 2016. "Experimental Evidence on the Drivers of Index-Based Livestock Insurance Demand in Southern Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 324-340.
    3. Sarah A. Janzen & Michael R. Carter, 2013. "After the Drought: The Impact of Microinsurance on Consumption Smoothing and Asset Protection," NBER Working Papers 19702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Sommarat Chantarat & Christopher Barrett, 2012. "Social network capital, economic mobility and poverty traps," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 10(3), pages 299-342, September.
    5. Arunachalam, Raj & Shenoy, Ajay, 2017. "Poverty traps, convergence, and the dynamics of household income," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 215-230.
    6. Kraay, Aart & McKenzie, David, 2014. "Do poverty traps exist ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6835, The World Bank.
    7. Chantarat, Sommarat & Mude, Andrew G. & Barrett, Christopher B. & Turvey, Calum G., 2017. "Welfare Impacts of Index Insurance in the Presence of a Poverty Trap," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 119-138.
    8. Zelalem Yilma & Owen O’Donnell & Anagaw Mebratie & Getnet Alemu & Arjun S. Bedi, 2015. "Subjective Expectations of Medical Expenditures and Insurance in Rural Ethiopia," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-120/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. Takahashi, Kazushi & Ikegami, Munenobu & Sheahan, Megan & Barrett, Christopher B., 2014. "Quasi-experimental evidence on the drivers of index-based livestock insurance demand in Southern Ethiopia," IDE Discussion Papers 480, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
    10. Yuan, Yan & Xu, Lihe, 2015. "Are poor able to access the informal credit market? Evidence from rural households in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 232-246.
    11. Carter, Michael R. & Lybbert, Travis J., 2012. "Consumption versus asset smoothing: testing the implications of poverty trap theory in Burkina Faso," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 255-264.
    12. Janzen, Sarah A. & Carter, Michael R. & Ikegami, Munenobu, 2012. "Valuing Asset Insurance in the Presence of Poverty Traps: A Dynamic Approach," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124805, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    13. Tache, Boku & Sjaastad, Espen, 2010. "Pastoralists' Conceptions of Poverty: An Analysis of Traditional and Conventional Indicators from Borana, Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1168-1178, August.
    14. Jensen, Nathaniel & Mude, Andrew & Barrett, Christopher, 2014. "How Basis Risk and Spatiotemporal Adverse Selection Influence Demand for Index Insurance: Evidence from Northern Kenya," MPRA Paper 60452, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Cisse, Jennifer Denno & Barrett, Christopher B., 2015. "Resilience Measurement: A Moment-Based Approach to Resilience Identification and Aggregation," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205621, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    16. Mburu, Samuel & Kaiser, Micha & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, 2017. "Livestock asset dynamics among pastoralists in Northern Kenya," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 25-2017, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    17. Christopher B. Barrett & Teevrat Garg & Linden McBride, 2016. "Well-Being Dynamics and Poverty Traps," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 303-327, October.
    18. Janzen, Sarah A. & Carter, Michael R., 2013. "The Impact of Microinsurance on Consumption Smoothing and Asset Protection: Evidence from a Drought in Kenya," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 151141, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    19. Turvey, Calum G. & Kumar, Chandra & Rong, Kong, 2015. "Fairness, Reciprocity and Informal Lending in Farming Communities: A Comparative Study of China and India," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212625, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    20. Azomahou T.T. & Yitbarek E., 2015. "Poverty persistence and informal risk management: Micro evidence from urban Ethiopia," MERIT Working Papers 006, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    21. Sommarat Chantarat & Andrew G. Mude & Christopher B. Barrett & Michael R. Carter, 2013. "Designing Index-Based Livestock Insurance for Managing Asset Risk in Northern Kenya," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 80(1), pages 205-237, March.

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