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Heterogeneous Wealth Dynamics: On the Roles of Risk and Ability

Listed author(s):
  • Paulo Santos
  • Christopher B. Barrett

This paper studies the causal mechanisms behind persistent poverty. Using original data on Boran pastoralists of southern Ethiopia, we find that heterogeneous and nonlinear wealth dynamics arise purely in adverse states of nature. In favorable states, expected herd grow is quasi-linear and universal. We further show that those with lower herding ability, as reflected in past herd growth data, converge to a unique equilibrium at a small herd size while those with higher ability exhibit multiple stable dynamic wealth equilibria.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w22626.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 22626.

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Date of creation: Sep 2016
Publication status: Forthcoming: Heterogeneous Wealth Dynamics: On the Roles of Risk and Ability , Paulo Santos, Christopher B. Barrett. in The Economics of Asset Accumulation and Poverty Traps , Barrett, Carter, and Chavas. 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22626
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  1. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-827, August.
  2. Russell Toth, 2015. "Traps and Thresholds in Pastoralist Mobility," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 97(1), pages 315-332.
  3. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Binswanger, Hans P, 1993. "Wealth, Weather Risk and the Composition and Profitability of Agricultural Investments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(416), pages 56-78, January.
  4. Travis J. Lybbert & Christopher B. Barrett & Solomon Desta & D. Layne Coppock, 2004. "Stochastic wealth dynamics and risk management among a poor population," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(498), pages 750-777, October.
  5. Christopher B. Barrett & Teevrat Garg & Linden McBride, 2016. "Well-Being Dynamics and Poverty Traps," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 303-327, October.
  6. Michael Carter & Christopher Barrett, 2006. "The economics of poverty traps and persistent poverty: An asset-based approach," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 178-199.
  7. Delavande, Adeline & Giné, Xavier & McKenzie, David, 2011. "Measuring subjective expectations in developing countries: A critical review and new evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 151-163, March.
  8. Santos, Paulo & Barrett, Christopher B., 2011. "Persistent poverty and informal credit," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 337-347, November.
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