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Livestock as an Imperfect Buffer Stock in Poorly Integrated Markets

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  • Simon Lange

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

  • Malte Reimers

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

Abstract

Livestock holdings in rural areas of the West African Semi-arid Tropics (WASAT) are often substantial yet there is little evidence for precautionary saving in the form of livestock out of transitory income. The present paper re-visits farm households’ ability to smooth consumption ex post via savings in the form of livestock. Exploiting two comprehensive panel datasets covering Burkina Faso’s 2004 drought, we find that livestock sales increase significantly in response to drought. Consistent with consumption smoothing, the motive frequently cited by households for these extra sales is the need to finance food consumption. Using deviations in rainfall to extract the transitory component of crop profit, we find evidence that shocks are nevertheless to a large extent passed on to consumption expenditure. In line with the literature, our results suggest that some consumption smoothing is achieved via adjustments to grain stocks while households apparently fail to smooth consumption by adjusting livestock holdings. We argue that this seemingly contradictory finding is largely due to a decrease in relative livestock prices during droughts. This suggests that selling livestock is a costly coping strategy which may be the reason that households rely on it only to a limited extent.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Lange & Malte Reimers, 2014. "Livestock as an Imperfect Buffer Stock in Poorly Integrated Markets," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 162, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:162
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Raphael GODEFROY & Joshua LEWIS, 2018. "The Impact of Uncertainty in Agriculture," Cahiers de recherche 15-2018, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    precautionary saving; livestock; risk and coping strategies; price risk; Africa; WASAT;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets

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