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Household Consumption and Natural Disasters: The Case of Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua


  • van den Berg, Marrit
  • Burger, Kees


This paper analyses coping strategies and consumption reactions of rural households in Nicaragua to hurricane Mitch, which caused massive losses in especially the agricultural sector in 1998. A switching-regression model confirms theoretical considerations which indicate that responses to transitory incomes depend on wealth. Asset-poor households do and asset-rich households do not adjust their consumption to transitory income changes.

Suggested Citation

  • van den Berg, Marrit & Burger, Kees, 2008. "Household Consumption and Natural Disasters: The Case of Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 44380, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaae08:44380

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Behavioral responses to risk in rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 23-49, October.
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    3. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-591, May.
    4. Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 103-114, Summer.
    5. Michael Carter & Christopher Barrett, 2006. "The economics of poverty traps and persistent poverty: An asset-based approach," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 178-199.
    6. Kazianga, Harounan & Udry, Christopher, 2006. "Consumption smoothing? Livestock, insurance and drought in rural Burkina Faso," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 413-446, April.
    7. Stefan Dercon & John Hoddinott & Tassew Woldehanna, 2005. "Shocks and Consumption in 15 Ethiopian Villages, 1999--2004," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 14(4), pages 559-585, December.
    8. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1993. "Credit Market Constraints, Consumption Smoothing, and the Accumulation of Durable Production Assets in Low-Income Countries: Investment in Bullocks in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 223-244, April.
    9. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-1248, September.
    10. Martin Ravallion & Shubham Chaudhuri, 1997. "Risk and Insurance in Village India: Comment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(1), pages 171-184, January.
    11. John Hoddinott, 2006. "Shocks and their consequences across and within households in Rural Zimbabwe," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 301-321.
    12. Kinsey, Bill & Burger, Kees & Gunning, Jan Willem, 1998. "Coping with drought in Zimbabwe: Survey evidence on responses of rural households to risk," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 89-110, January.
    13. Zimmerman, Frederick J. & Carter, Michael R., 2003. "Asset smoothing, consumption smoothing and the reproduction of inequality under risk and subsistence constraints," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 233-260, August.
    14. 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.
    15. Anjini Kochar, 1999. "Smoothing Consumption by Smoothing Income: Hours-of-Work Responses to Idiosyncratic Agricultural Shocks in Rural India," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 50-61, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sirikarn Lertamphainont & Robert Sparrow, 2016. "The Economic Impacts of Extreme Rainfall Events on Farming Households: Evidence from Thailand," PIER Discussion Papers 45, Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research, revised Oct 2016.
    2. Claus C Pörtner, 2010. "Natural Hazards and Child Health," Working Papers UWEC-2010-03, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    3. van den Berg, Marrit, 2010. "Household income strategies and natural disasters: Dynamic livelihoods in rural Nicaragua," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 592-602, January.

    More about this item


    Natural disasters; assets; consumption smoothing; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy;

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