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Vulnerability : a view from different disciplines

  • Alwang, Jeffrey
  • Siegel, Paul B.
  • Jorgensen, Steen L.

Practitioners from different disciplines use different meanings and concepts of vulnerability, which, in turn, have led to diverse methods of measuring it. This paper presents a selective review of the literature from several disciplines to examine how they define and measure vulnerability. The disciplines include economics, sociology/anthropology, disaster management, environmental science, and health/nutrition. Differences between the disciplines can be explained by their tendency to focus on different components of risk, household responses to risk and welfare outcomes. In general, they focus either on the risks (at one extreme) or the underlying conditions (or outcomes) at the other. Trade-offs exist between simple measurement schemes and rich conceptual understanding.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Social Protection Discussion Papers with number 23304.

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Date of creation: 30 Jun 2001
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:23304
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