Drought and Saving in West Africa: Are Livestock a Buffer Stock?

97-013

44 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 1998

See all articles by Marcel Fafchamps

Marcel Fafchamps

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Christopher Udry

Northwestern University

Katherine Czukas

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: September 1996

Abstract

Households in the west African semi-arid tropics face substantial risk -- an inevitable consequence of engaging in rainfed agriculture in a drought-prone environment. It has long been hypothesized that these households keep livestock as a buffer stock to insulate their consumption from income fluctuations income. This paper tests this hypothesis. Results indicate that livestock transactions play less of a consumption smoothing role than often assumed. Livestock sales compensate for at most thirty percent, and probably closer to twenty percent of income shortfalls due to village-level shocks alone. We discuss possible explanations for these results and suggest directions for future work.

JEL Classification: E21, O13, O16

Suggested Citation

Fafchamps, Marcel and Udry, Christopher and Czukas, Katherine, Drought and Saving in West Africa: Are Livestock a Buffer Stock? (September 1996). 97-013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=71374 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.71374

Marcel Fafchamps (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Christopher Udry

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Katherine Czukas

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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