Stochastic Wealth Dynamics And Risk Management Among A Poor Population
The literature on economic growth and development has focused considerable attention on questions of risk management and the possibility of multiple equilibria associated with poverty traps. We use herd history data collected among pastoralists in southern Ethiopia to study stochastic wealth dynamics among a very poor population. These data yield several novel findings. Although covariate rainfall shocks plainly matter, household-specific factors, including own herd size, account for most observed variability in wealth dynamics. Despite longstanding conventional wisdom about common property grazing lands, we find no statistical support for the tragedy of the commons hypothesis. It appears that past studies may have conflated costly self-insurance with stocking rate externalities. Such self-insurance is important in this setting because weak livestock markets and meager social insurance cause wealth to fluctuate largely in response to biophysical shocks. These shocks move households between multiple dynamic wealth equilibria toward which households converge following nonconvex path dynamics. The lowest equilibrium is consistent with the notion of a poverty trap. These findings have broad implications for the design of development and relief strategies among a poor population extraordinarily vulnerable to climatic shocks.
|Date of creation:||2002|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://aem.cornell.edu/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Stefan Dercon, 1996.
"Wealth, risk and activity choices: cattle in Western Tanzania,"
CSAE Working Paper Series
1996-08, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
- Dercon, Stefan, 1998. "Wealth, risk and activity choice: cattle in Western Tanzania," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 1-42, February.
- Stefan Dercon, 1996. "Wealth, risk and activity choices: cattle in Western Tanzania," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1996-08, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Fafchamps, Marcel & Udry, Christopher & Czukas, Katherine, 1998.
"Drought and saving in West Africa: are livestock a buffer stock?,"
Journal of Development Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 273-305, April.
- Marcel Fafchamps & Chris Udry & Katherine Czukas, . "Drought and Saving in West Africa: Are Livestock a Buffer Stock?," Working Papers 97013, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
- MICHAEL R. CARTER & Frederic Zimmerman, 1998.
"The Dynamic Cost and Persistence of Asset Inequality in an Agrarian Economy,"
Wisconsin-Madison Agricultural and Applied Economics Staff Papers
416, Wisconsin-Madison Agricultural and Applied Economics Department.
- Carter, Michael R. & Zimmerman, Frederick J., 2000. "The dynamic cost and persistence of asset inequality in an agrarian economy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 265-302, December.
- Fafchamps, Marcel & Gavian, Sarah, 1996. "The Spatial Integration of Livestock Markets in Niger," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 5(3), pages 366-405, October.
- Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1994. "Poverty, Incentives, and Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 211-15, May.
- Dasgupta, Partha & Ray, Debraj, 1986. "Inequality as a Determinant of Malnutrition and Unemployment: Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(384), pages 1011-34, December.
- Fafchamps, Marcel, 1998. "The Tragedy of the Commons, Livestock Cycles and Sustainability," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 7(3), pages 384-423, October.
- Sieff, Daniela F., 1999. "The effects of wealth on livestock dynamics among the Datoga pastoralists of Tanzania," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 1-25, January.
- Cossins, Noel J. & Upton, Martin, 1987. "The Borana pastoral system of Southern Ethiopia," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 199-218.
- Upton, Martin, 1986. "Production policies for pastoralists: The Borana case," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 17-35.
- Binswanger, Hans P & McIntire, John, 1987. "Behavioral and Material Determinants of Production Relations in Land-Abundant Tropical Agriculture," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 73-99, October.
- Azariadis, Costas & Drazen, Allan, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-26, May.
- Huysentruyt, Marieke & Barrett, Christopher B. & McPeak, John G., 2002. "Social Identity And Manipulative Interhousehold Transfers Among East African Pastoralists," Working Papers 14746, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
- John G. McPeak & Christopher B. Barrett, 2001. "Differential Risk Exposure and Stochastic Poverty Traps Among East African Pastoralists," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(3), pages 674-679.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:cudawp:14736. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.