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Universität Hohenheim (2016)

Incomes and asset poverty dynamics and child health among pastoralists in Northern Kenya

Mburu, Samuel

Titre : Incomes and asset poverty dynamics and child health among pastoralists in Northern Kenya

Die Dynamik von Einkommen und Vermögensarmut sowie die Gesundheit von Kindern unter Viehzüchtern in Nordkenia

Auteur : Mburu, Samuel

Université de soutenance : Universität Hohenheim

Grade : Dr. oec. in Economics 2016

Résumé partiel
In chapter one we identified the levels, sources, and trends of household incomes across the five survey waves. We also estimated and compared the income and asset poverty levels. Income poverty was estimated using imputed household income relative to the adjusted poverty line and asset poverty using a regression-based asset index and tropical livestock units (TLU) per capita. Our results indicate that keeping livestock is still the pastoralists’ main source of livelihood, although there is a notable trend of increasing livelihood diversification, especially among livestock-poor households. Majority of the households (over 70%) are both income and livestock poor with few having escaped poverty within the five-year study period. Disaggregating income and asset poverty also reveals an increasing trend of both structurally poor and stochastically non-poor households. The findings show that the TLU-based asset poverty is a more appropriate measure of asset poverty in a pastoral setting. In chapter two we explored the household welfare dynamics among pastoral households in the study area. First, we developed a microeconomic model to analyze the impact of a shock (e.g., a drought) on the behavioral decisions of pastoralists. Secondly, we estimated the existence of single or multiple dynamic equilibria that may constitute an asset poverty trap. We used the tropical livestock units (TLUs) to establish the shape of asset dynamics to locate the welfare equilibria for the sampled households. We also estimated the household characteristics and covariate environmental factors that influence livestock accumulation over time. We use both non-parametric and semi-parametric techniques to establish the shape of asset accumulation path and determine whether multiple equilibria exist. From the model, we found that a negative shock like a drought leads to an immediate decrease in livestock followed by a smooth reduction in consumption. Because the shock also affects the local economy, it prompts a wage decrease, which reinforces the pastoralist’s incentives to tend his own livestock and reduce time spent in the external labor market. Whereas the pastoralist’s labor time allocation shows a pattern of quick convergence, however, the adjustment of other variables such as consumption and capital takes much longer. Food aid helps in smoothening consumption especially among households with few livestock. We established that livestock assets converge to a single stable equilibrium implying that households remained livestock poor in the short term. Such convergence to a stable equilibrium could result from households with more livestock smoothening their consumption during times of food shortage by drawing on their herds for sale or consumption while livestock poor households smoothen their assets by using coping strategies that do not deplete their few livestock holdings. Poor households thus destabilized their consumption to buffer and protect their few assets for future income and survival. We also found that forage availability and herd diversity influenced livestock accumulation over time


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