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Consumption insurance and vulnerability to poverty

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  • Skoufias, Emmanuel
  • Quisumbing, Agnes R.

Abstract

This paper synthesizes the results of five studies using household panel data from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Mali, Mexico and Russia, which examine the extent to which households are able through formal and/or informal arrangements to insure their consumption from specific economic shocks and fluctuations in their real income. Building on the recent literature of consumption smoothing and risk sharing, the degree of consumption insurance is defined by the degree to which the growth rate of household consumption covaries with the growth rate of household income. All the case studies show that food consumption is better insured than nonfood consumption from idiosyncratic shocks. Adjustments in nonfood consumption appear to act as a mechanism for partially insuring ex-post the consumption of food from the effects of income changes. Food consumption is also more likely to be covered by informal insurance arrangements at the community level than nonfood consumption. Linkages among consumption variability, the level of household consumption, the incidence of poverty, and the probability of being ever poor and the proportion of time spent in poverty are also explored for Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Russia. All the case studies also show that households use a portfolio of risk-coping strategies, but that different types of households may have differential ability to use these strategies. In particular, poorer households may be less able to use mechanisms that rely to initial wealth as collateral. In this regard, public transfer programs may have a more redistributive effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Skoufias, Emmanuel & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 2003. "Consumption insurance and vulnerability to poverty," FCND discussion papers 155, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:fcnddp:155
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard T. Carson & Phoebe Koundouri & Céline Nauges, 2010. "Arsenic Mitigation in Bangladesh: A Household Labor Market Approach," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(2), pages 407-414.
    2. Baiyegunhi, L.J.S. & Fraser, Gavin C.G., 2010. "Determinants of Household Poverty Dynamics in Rural Regions of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa," 2010 AAAE Third Conference/AEASA 48th Conference, September 19-23, 2010, Cape Town, South Africa 97078, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE);Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA).
    3. Carola Álvarez & Florencia Devoto & Paul Winters, 2006. "Why do the poor leave the safety net in Mexico? A study of the effects of conditionality on dropouts," Working Papers 2006-10, American University, Department of Economics.
    4. Michael Grimm, 2010. "Mortality Shocks and Survivors' Consumption Growth," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 72(2), pages 146-171, April.
    5. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Vinha, Katja & Conroy, Hector V., 2011. "The impacts of climate variability on welfare in rural Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5555, The World Bank.
    6. Michael Grimm, 2006. "Mortality and survivor's consumption," Working Papers DT/2006/13, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    7. Deressa, Temesgen T. & Hassan, Rashid M. & Ringler, Claudia, 2009. "Assessing household vulnerability to climate change: The case of farmers in the Nile Basin of Ethiopia," IFPRI discussion papers 935, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Vakis, Renos & Kruger, Diana & Mason, Andrew D., 2004. "Shocks and coffee : lessons from Nicaragua," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 30164, The World Bank.
    9. del Ninno, Carlo & Dorosh, Paul A. & Smith, Lisa C., 2003. "Public policy, food markets, and household coping strategies in Bangladesh," FCND briefs 156, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Jolejole-Foreman, Maria Christina & Baylis, Katherine R. & Lipper, Leslie, 2012. "Land Degradation’s Implications on Agricultural Value of Production in Ethiopia: A look inside the bowl," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126251, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    11. Dercon, Stefan & Hoddinott, John & Krishnan, Pramila & Woldehannnam, Tassew, 2008. "Collective action and vulnerability: Burial societies in rural Ethiopia," CAPRi working papers 83, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    12. Hazel Jean Malapit & Jade Eric Redoblado & Deanna Margarett Cabungcal-Dolor & Jasmin Suministrado, 2006. "Labor Supply Responses to Adverse Shocks under Credit Constraints: Evidence from Bukidnon, Philippines," Working Papers PMMA 2006-15, PEP-PMMA.
    13. Martina Celidoni, 2013. "Vulnerability to poverty: an empirical comparison of alternative measures," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(12), pages 1493-1506, April.

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