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Measuring Individual Vulnerability

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  • Cesar Calvo
  • Stefan Dercon

Abstract

Standard poverty analysis makes statements about deprivation after the veil of uncertainty has been lifted. This implies that there is no meaningful role for risk as part of an assessment of potentially low states of well-being. In this paper, we introduce a concept of vulnerability, as a threat of poverty, with downside risk at its core. More specifically, we define a vulnerability measure as an assessment of the magnitude of the threat of poverty, measured ex-ante, before uncertainty is resolved. We describe the welfare-economic foundations for desirable properties of a vulnerability measure and assess to what extent some measures used in empirical work abide by them. We also present two families of measures that are fully consistent with our axiomatic approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Cesar Calvo & Stefan Dercon, 2005. "Measuring Individual Vulnerability," Economics Series Working Papers 229, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:229
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Ethan Ligon & Laura Schechter, 2003. "Measuring Vulnerability," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(486), pages 95-102, March.
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    8. Luc J. Christiaensen & Kalanidhi Subbarao, 2005. "Towards an Understanding of Household Vulnerability in Rural Kenya," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 14(4), pages 520-558, December.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Poverty; Risk; Vulnerability; Welfare Axioms;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

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