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Vulnerability to Poverty

  • Cesar Calvo
  • Stefan Dercon

Standard poverty analysis makes statements about deprivation after the veil of uncertainty has been lifted. Nonetheless, the term 'vulnerability' has been used as a tool to remark that uncertainty and risk do matter. In this paper, we define 'vulnerability to poverty' as the magnitude of the threat of poverty, measured ex-ante, before uncertainty is resolved. We describe the desirable properties of a vulnerability measure as a set of axioms, and present a family of measures satisfying our desiderata at the individual level. We also propose a family of measures of aggregate vulnerability, a concept which has remained largely unexplored thus far.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2007-03.

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Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2007-03
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  1. 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.
  2. Hans Binswanger, 1981. "Attitudes toward risk: Theoretical implications of an experiment in rural india," Artefactual Field Experiments 00010, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Amin, S. & Rai, A.S. & Topa, G., 2000. "Does Microcredit Reach the Poor and Vulnerable? Evidence from Nothern Bangladesh," Papers 28, Chicago - Graduate School of Business.
  4. Asep Suryahadi & Sudarno Sumarto, 2003. "Poverty and Vulnerability in Indonesia Before and After the Economic Crisis," Asian Economic Journal, East Asian Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 45-64, 03.
  5. Ralph L. Keeney, 1972. "Utility Functions for Multiattributed Consequences," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(5-Part-1), pages 276-287, January.
  6. Bourguignon, F. & Chakravarty, S.R., 1998. "The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty," DELTA Working Papers 98-12, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  7. Ravallion, Martin, 1988. "Expected Poverty under Risk-Induced Welfare Variability," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(393), pages 1171-82, December.
  8. Ligon, Ethan & Schechter, Laura, 2002. "Measuring Vulnerability," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19899, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  9. Chakravarty, Satya R., 1983. "A new index of poverty," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 307-313, December.
  10. Scott F. Richard, 1975. "Multivariate Risk Aversion, Utility Independence and Separable Utility Functions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(1), pages 12-21, September.
  11. Pollak, Robert A, 1979. "Bergson-Samuelson Social Welfare Functions and the Theory of Social Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 73-90, February.
  12. Basu, Kaushik & Nolen, Patrick, 2004. "Vulnerability, Unemployment and Poverty: A New Class of Measures, Its Axiomatic Properties and Application," Working Papers 04-07, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
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