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Bayesian Herders: Updating of Rainfall Beliefs in Response to External Climate Forecasts

Posted: 24 May 2011  

Travis J. Lybbert

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Christopher B. Barrett

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management

John G. McPeak

Syracuse University - Department of Economics

Winnie Luseno

RTI International

Date Written: April 18, 2006

Abstract

Temporal climate risk weighs heavily on many of the world’s poor. Model-based climate forecasts could benefit such populations, provided recipients use forecast information to update climate expectations. We test whether pastoralists in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya update their expectations in response to forecast information. The minority of herders who received these climate forecasts updated their expectations for below normal rainfall, but not for above normal rainfall. This revealed preoccupation with downside risk highlights the potential value of better climate forecasts in averting drought-related losses, but realizing any welfare gains requires that recipients strategically react to these updated expectations.

Keywords: information, risk, early warning systems, Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia

JEL Classification: D84, O12, O13, Q16

Suggested Citation

Lybbert , Travis J. and Barrett, Christopher B. and McPeak, John G. and Luseno, Winnie, Bayesian Herders: Updating of Rainfall Beliefs in Response to External Climate Forecasts (April 18, 2006). World Development, Vol. 35, No. 3, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1846814

Travis J. Lybbert

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States

Christopher B. Barrett (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management ( email )

315 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7801
United States
607-255-4489 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://aem.cornell.edu/faculty_sites/cbb2/

John G. McPeak

Syracuse University - Department of Economics ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13244-1020
United States

Winnie Luseno

RTI International ( email )

3040 Cornwallis Road
PO Box 12194
RTP, NC 27709-2194
United States
9195416000 (Phone)
9194855555 (Fax)

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