On Measuring Household Food Vulnerability: Case Evidence from Northern Mali
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This study illustrates a methodology to measure empirically household food vulnerability. Food vulnerability is defined in terms of the probability now of being undernourished in the future. The empirical analysis is based on panel data from northern Mali, collected in 1997-98. Our empirical results clearly show that even though the groups of currently undernourished and food vulnerable households overlap, they are far from identical. Female-headed households appear less vulnerable to drought shocks, partly due to community solidarity. Households with good harvests are also less vulnerable, though greater dependence on agriculture attenuates this effect. Official food aid and family food gifts are important insurance mechanisms. Simulations indicate that food vulnerability can be significantly reduced through off-farm employment generation in the area and greater access to irrigation infrastructure.
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WP 2000-05 March 2000
The Belgian American Education Foundation and Fulbright provided initial support for this work. Funding for data collection and analysis has been supported by grants to the International Food Policy Research Institute from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (TA Grant No. 301-IFPRI) and USAID/Mali (Contract No. 388-C-00-98-00151-00).
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
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