Vulnerability of Household Consumption to Village-level Aggregate Shocks in a Developing Country
Village-level aggregate shocks such as droughts and floods cannot be perfectly insured by risk sharing within a village. Then, what type of households are more vulnerable in terms of a decline in consumption when a village is hit by such natural disasters? This question is investigated in this study by using two-period panel data for the years 2001 and 2004 from rural Pakistan. We propose a methodology to infer the theoretical mechanisms underlying the heterogeneity of households in terms of their vulnerability, and focus on the difference between the across-household-type difference in marginal response to aggregate shocks and that in marginal response to idiosyncratic shocks. The empirical results obtained indicate that the sensitivity of consumption changes to shocks differs across household types, depending on the type of natural disasters. Moreover, land and credit access are effective in mitigating the ill-effects of various types of shocks. Household heads who are educated or elderly and households with a greater number of working members bear a larger burden of the village-level shocks; however, they are not vulnerable to idiosyncratic health shocks. It is revealed that these patterns may be explained by the coexistence of unequal access to credit markets and risk sharing among heterogeneous households in terms of risk tolerance.
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