This paper focuses on the vulnerability of rural households to poverty when a negative crop shock occurs. The analysis is based on the ICRISAT panel survey of households in a semiarid region in south India during 1975-84. Using a dynamic panel data model that takes into account effects of crop shocks, an assessment of vulnerability of different groups of households is carried out. What is somewhat surprising is that even sections of relatively affluent households are highly vulnerable to long spells of poverty when severe crop shocks occur. As such crop shocks are frequent in a harsh production environment, there must be a shift of emphasis in anti-poverty measures from meeting income shortfalls among the poor to enabling the vulnerable to protect themselves better against these shocks.
Vulnerability, shocks and persistence of poverty - estimates for semi-arid rural South India, presented at Staying Poor: Chronic Poverty and Development Policy, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, 7-9 April 2003. Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, 27 pp.