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The Vulnerable Are Not (Necessarily) the Poor


  • Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay


In this paper I examine the concept of "vulnerability" within the context of income mobility of the poor. While the concept of poverty is well developed, the concept of vulnerability is less established in the economic literature. I test for the dynamics of vulnerable households in the UK using Waves 1 - 12 of the British Household Panel Survey and find that, of three different types of risks for which I test, household-specific shocks and economy-wide aggregate shocks have the greatest impact on consumption, in comparison to shocks to the income stream. I find vulnerable households up to at least 10 percentile points above the poverty line. Savings and earnings from a second job are not significantly associated with smoothing consumption of all vulnerable households. The results strongly indicate that income transfers and benefits assist the vulnerable in smoothing consumption. Thus, traditional poverty alleviating policies are not likely to assist the vulnerable.

Suggested Citation

  • Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay, 2012. "The Vulnerable Are Not (Necessarily) the Poor," Working Papers 40, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgs:wpaper:40

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    More about this item


    income variability; vulnerability; poverty; insurances;

    JEL classification:

    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand


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