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Consumption Smoothing? Livestock, Insurance and Drought in Rural Burkina Faso

  • Harounan Kazianga


    (Columbia University)

  • Christopher Udry


    (Yale University)

This paper explores the extent of consumption smoothing between 1981 and 1985 in rural Burkina Faso. In particular, we examine the extent to which livestock, grain storage and interhousehold transfers are used to smooth consumption against income risk. The survey coincided with a period of severe drought, so that the results provide direct evidence on the effectiveness of these various insurance mechanisms when they are the most needed. We find evidence of little consumption smoothing. In particular, there is almost no risk sharing, and households rely almost exclusively on self-insurance in the form of adjustments to grain stocks to smooth out consumption. The outcome, however, is far from complete smoothing. Hence the main risk-coping strategies, which are hypothesized in the literature (risk sharing and buffer stock), were not effective during the survey period.

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Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 898.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:898
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