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Vulnerability to Downside Risk and Poverty in Vietnam


  • Felix Povel

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)


In this paper we propose a new measure of vulnerability called vulnerability to downside risk. The relevant benchmark for this new measure is the current level of wellbeing of a household as opposed to another benchmark such as the poverty line. We argue that this measure adds complementary information to existing measures such as Calvo and Dercon’s (2007) axiomatic measure of vulnerability to poverty. We apply a measure of both vulnerability to downside risk and to poverty to data from Vietnam. We show that consumption smoothing capacities and the probability to experience an adverse event differ substantially between different wealth groups. Consequently, the relation between initial wealth and vulnerability to downside risk is highly non-linear. While moderately but not extremely poor households are relatively vulnerable to extreme poverty, they are less vulnerable to downside risk than any other group of households.

Suggested Citation

  • Felix Povel, 2010. "Vulnerability to Downside Risk and Poverty in Vietnam," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 44, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:044

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    More about this item


    Vulnerability; Poverty; Shocks; Risk;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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