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Aspirations and the role of social protection: Evidence from a natural disaster in rural Pakistan:

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  • Kosec, Katrina
  • Mo, Cecilia Hyunjung

Abstract

Citizens’ aspirations for the future are politically important; they are linked to welfare and whether citizens engage in forward-looking political and economic behavior. How do natural disasters affect aspirations, and can governments’ social protection policies successfully mitigate any damaging effects? If natural disasters threaten aspirations, there is strong policy interest in understanding these threats and what government can do to protect aspirations. This article uses Pakistan’s 2010 floods to identify the effects of a natural disaster on citizens’ aspirations. Aspirations were significantly reduced—especially among the poorest and most vulnerable. However, by exploiting exogenous variation in access to targeted government social protection, the authors show that social protection following natural disasters can significantly reduce their negative aspirational effects. This offers a new understanding of government social protection. It not only raises social welfare in the short term by restoring livelihoods and replacing damaged assets; it also has an enduring effect by raising citizens’ aspirations for the future. The authors show not only that the aspirations of citizens matter for citizens’ behaviors, but also that government policies can effectively protect and increase those aspirations. This implies that the value and efficacy of government disaster relief programs are underestimated when aspirations are not taken into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Kosec, Katrina & Mo, Cecilia Hyunjung, 2015. "Aspirations and the role of social protection: Evidence from a natural disaster in rural Pakistan:," IFPRI discussion papers 1467, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1467
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    Cited by:

    1. Kosec, Katrina & Wantchekon, Leonard, 2020. "Can information improve rural governance and service delivery?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 125(C).
    2. Brown, Philip & Daigneault, Adam J. & Tjernström, Emilia & Zou, Wenbo, 2018. "Natural disasters, social protection, and risk perceptions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 310-325.
    3. Sung Soo Lim, 2020. "The Effects of Chronic Illness on Aspirations and Subjective Wellbeing," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 21(5), pages 1771-1793, June.
    4. Yashodhan Ghorpade & Patricia Justino, 2019. "Winning or buying hearts and minds?: Cash transfers and political attitudes in Pakistan," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2019-91, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Dalton, Patricio & Rüschenpöhler, Julius & Zia, Bilal, 2018. "Determinants and Dynamics of Business Aspirations : Evidence from Small-scale Entrepreneurs in an Emerging Market," Discussion Paper 2018-009, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    6. Chen, Joyce & Kosec, Katrina & Mueller, Valerie, 2019. "Moving to despair? Migration and well-being in Pakistan," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 186-203.
    7. Moya, Andrés & Carter, Michael R., 2019. "Violence and the formation of hopelessness: Evidence from internally displaced persons in Colombia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 100-115.
    8. Muhammad Khan & Hee Yong Lee & Jung Han Bae, 2019. "The Role of Transparency in Humanitarian Logistics," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(7), pages 1-27, April.
    9. Jing Liu & Fubin Huang & Zihan Wang & Chuanmin Shuai & Jiaxin Li, 2020. "Understanding the Role of Rural Poor’s Endogenous Impetus in Poverty Reduction: Evidence from China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(6), pages 1-16, March.

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    Keywords

    natural disasters; social welfare;

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