Do the Commons Help Augment Mutual Insurance Among the Poor?
Summary Poor people rely on local commons not only for self-insurance, as commonly found, but also for mutual insurance, depending on resources and shocks. This paper demonstrates that this conjecture holds among cyclone victims in the Pacific Islands. On one hand, households increase coastal fishing and handicraft selling, but not forest-product gathering, to smooth income against own crop damage. On the other hand, households with undamaged housing intensify fishing to help other kin-group members with damaged housing. These distinct patterns of using commons as insurance are explained by distinct forms of risk sharing against these two shocks.
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