Poverty dynamics, income inequality and vulnerability to shocks in rural Kenya

M.A.O. Radeny

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WUAcademic

Abstract

Persistent poverty remains a huge challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, official statistics indicate that the incidence of rural poverty was 49% in 2005/2006. This study uses different approaches and data sources to explore temporal and spatial dimensions of rural welfare in Kenya. The objective is to identify and understand the linkages between welfare, livelihood assets, livelihood strategies, local-level institutions, and exposure to shocks. First, we compared participatory and income approaches to studying poverty and poverty dynamics. We found a significant positive correlation between the results obtained using the two approaches, with both approaches showing evidence of geographical clusters of poverty. Nevertheless, discrepancies in poverty rates and dynamics were found as well. Second, we used asset-based approaches to explore the nature of rural poverty dynamics over multiple periods. We found that majority of households that were poor in two consecutive survey years were structurally poor. Of the households escaping poverty, a large proportion was characterized by stochastic transitions. Few households successfully escaped poverty through asset accumulation, while a large proportion of households declining into poverty experienced structural movements. A combination of livelihood strategies, shocks, and other factors interact to influence household structural transition. Third, we characterized shocks facing rural households. Health expenses, ill-health, funeral expenses, livestock losses, land sub-division, and death of major income earner were the most frequently reported shocks. We also found limited evidence that welfare level affects exposure to specific shocks, but a significant geographical effect. Finally, we revisited the geography versus institutions debate at the micro-level suing local data to explain within-country income differences. We found that certain geographical variables appear more important drivers of per capita income levels than local institutions. Our community-level measures of institutions did not explain within-Kenya income differences. Altogether, the findings underscore the importance of geographical targeting of poverty reduction interventions. Moreover, the coexistence of high rural poverty rates and limited asset accumulation, and strong macroeconomic growth highlight the fact that causes of poverty are complex. Macroeconomic growth policies need to be complimented with policies that enhance escapes from poverty (“cargo net” policies) and those that prevent descents into poverty (“cargo net” policies).

LanguageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Bulte, Erwin, Promotor
  • Schipper, Rob, Co-promotor
  • van den Berg, Marrit, Co-promotor
Award date27 Jun 2011
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789085859369
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Fingerprint

Income inequality
Vulnerability
Poverty dynamics
Poverty
Kenya
Household
Assets
Rural poverty
Livelihood strategies
Income differences
Income
Proportion
Macroeconomics
Expenses
Livestock
Official statistics
Income level
Discrepancy
Poverty reduction
Per capita income

Keywords

  • development economics
  • poverty
  • income
  • rural areas
  • livelihoods
  • sustainability
  • participation
  • agricultural households
  • rural welfare
  • economic change
  • developing countries
  • kenya
  • east africa

Cite this

@phdthesis{4f454889d7a446309b1b49aaa6d1f6a3,
title = "Poverty dynamics, income inequality and vulnerability to shocks in rural Kenya",
abstract = "Persistent poverty remains a huge challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, official statistics indicate that the incidence of rural poverty was 49{\%} in 2005/2006. This study uses different approaches and data sources to explore temporal and spatial dimensions of rural welfare in Kenya. The objective is to identify and understand the linkages between welfare, livelihood assets, livelihood strategies, local-level institutions, and exposure to shocks. First, we compared participatory and income approaches to studying poverty and poverty dynamics. We found a significant positive correlation between the results obtained using the two approaches, with both approaches showing evidence of geographical clusters of poverty. Nevertheless, discrepancies in poverty rates and dynamics were found as well. Second, we used asset-based approaches to explore the nature of rural poverty dynamics over multiple periods. We found that majority of households that were poor in two consecutive survey years were structurally poor. Of the households escaping poverty, a large proportion was characterized by stochastic transitions. Few households successfully escaped poverty through asset accumulation, while a large proportion of households declining into poverty experienced structural movements. A combination of livelihood strategies, shocks, and other factors interact to influence household structural transition. Third, we characterized shocks facing rural households. Health expenses, ill-health, funeral expenses, livestock losses, land sub-division, and death of major income earner were the most frequently reported shocks. We also found limited evidence that welfare level affects exposure to specific shocks, but a significant geographical effect. Finally, we revisited the geography versus institutions debate at the micro-level suing local data to explain within-country income differences. We found that certain geographical variables appear more important drivers of per capita income levels than local institutions. Our community-level measures of institutions did not explain within-Kenya income differences. Altogether, the findings underscore the importance of geographical targeting of poverty reduction interventions. Moreover, the coexistence of high rural poverty rates and limited asset accumulation, and strong macroeconomic growth highlight the fact that causes of poverty are complex. Macroeconomic growth policies need to be complimented with policies that enhance escapes from poverty (“cargo net” policies) and those that prevent descents into poverty (“cargo net” policies).",
keywords = "ontwikkelingseconomie, armoede, inkomen, platteland, middelen van bestaan, duurzaamheid (sustainability), participatie, landbouwhuishoudens, rurale welzijnszorg, economische verandering, ontwikkelingslanden, kenya, oost-afrika, development economics, poverty, income, rural areas, livelihoods, sustainability, participation, agricultural households, rural welfare, economic change, developing countries, kenya, east africa",
author = "M.A.O. Radeny",
note = "WU thesis, no. 5038",
year = "2011",
language = "English",
isbn = "9789085859369",
publisher = "S.n.",
school = "Wageningen University",

}

Radeny, MAO 2011, 'Poverty dynamics, income inequality and vulnerability to shocks in rural Kenya', Doctor of Philosophy, Wageningen University, [S.l.].

Poverty dynamics, income inequality and vulnerability to shocks in rural Kenya. / Radeny, M.A.O.

[S.l.] : S.n., 2011. 213 p.

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WUAcademic

TY - THES

T1 - Poverty dynamics, income inequality and vulnerability to shocks in rural Kenya

AU - Radeny, M.A.O.

N1 - WU thesis, no. 5038

PY - 2011

Y1 - 2011

N2 - Persistent poverty remains a huge challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, official statistics indicate that the incidence of rural poverty was 49% in 2005/2006. This study uses different approaches and data sources to explore temporal and spatial dimensions of rural welfare in Kenya. The objective is to identify and understand the linkages between welfare, livelihood assets, livelihood strategies, local-level institutions, and exposure to shocks. First, we compared participatory and income approaches to studying poverty and poverty dynamics. We found a significant positive correlation between the results obtained using the two approaches, with both approaches showing evidence of geographical clusters of poverty. Nevertheless, discrepancies in poverty rates and dynamics were found as well. Second, we used asset-based approaches to explore the nature of rural poverty dynamics over multiple periods. We found that majority of households that were poor in two consecutive survey years were structurally poor. Of the households escaping poverty, a large proportion was characterized by stochastic transitions. Few households successfully escaped poverty through asset accumulation, while a large proportion of households declining into poverty experienced structural movements. A combination of livelihood strategies, shocks, and other factors interact to influence household structural transition. Third, we characterized shocks facing rural households. Health expenses, ill-health, funeral expenses, livestock losses, land sub-division, and death of major income earner were the most frequently reported shocks. We also found limited evidence that welfare level affects exposure to specific shocks, but a significant geographical effect. Finally, we revisited the geography versus institutions debate at the micro-level suing local data to explain within-country income differences. We found that certain geographical variables appear more important drivers of per capita income levels than local institutions. Our community-level measures of institutions did not explain within-Kenya income differences. Altogether, the findings underscore the importance of geographical targeting of poverty reduction interventions. Moreover, the coexistence of high rural poverty rates and limited asset accumulation, and strong macroeconomic growth highlight the fact that causes of poverty are complex. Macroeconomic growth policies need to be complimented with policies that enhance escapes from poverty (“cargo net” policies) and those that prevent descents into poverty (“cargo net” policies).

AB - Persistent poverty remains a huge challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, official statistics indicate that the incidence of rural poverty was 49% in 2005/2006. This study uses different approaches and data sources to explore temporal and spatial dimensions of rural welfare in Kenya. The objective is to identify and understand the linkages between welfare, livelihood assets, livelihood strategies, local-level institutions, and exposure to shocks. First, we compared participatory and income approaches to studying poverty and poverty dynamics. We found a significant positive correlation between the results obtained using the two approaches, with both approaches showing evidence of geographical clusters of poverty. Nevertheless, discrepancies in poverty rates and dynamics were found as well. Second, we used asset-based approaches to explore the nature of rural poverty dynamics over multiple periods. We found that majority of households that were poor in two consecutive survey years were structurally poor. Of the households escaping poverty, a large proportion was characterized by stochastic transitions. Few households successfully escaped poverty through asset accumulation, while a large proportion of households declining into poverty experienced structural movements. A combination of livelihood strategies, shocks, and other factors interact to influence household structural transition. Third, we characterized shocks facing rural households. Health expenses, ill-health, funeral expenses, livestock losses, land sub-division, and death of major income earner were the most frequently reported shocks. We also found limited evidence that welfare level affects exposure to specific shocks, but a significant geographical effect. Finally, we revisited the geography versus institutions debate at the micro-level suing local data to explain within-country income differences. We found that certain geographical variables appear more important drivers of per capita income levels than local institutions. Our community-level measures of institutions did not explain within-Kenya income differences. Altogether, the findings underscore the importance of geographical targeting of poverty reduction interventions. Moreover, the coexistence of high rural poverty rates and limited asset accumulation, and strong macroeconomic growth highlight the fact that causes of poverty are complex. Macroeconomic growth policies need to be complimented with policies that enhance escapes from poverty (“cargo net” policies) and those that prevent descents into poverty (“cargo net” policies).

KW - ontwikkelingseconomie

KW - armoede

KW - inkomen

KW - platteland

KW - middelen van bestaan

KW - duurzaamheid (sustainability)

KW - participatie

KW - landbouwhuishoudens

KW - rurale welzijnszorg

KW - economische verandering

KW - ontwikkelingslanden

KW - kenya

KW - oost-afrika

KW - development economics

KW - poverty

KW - income

KW - rural areas

KW - livelihoods

KW - sustainability

KW - participation

KW - agricultural households

KW - rural welfare

KW - economic change

KW - developing countries

KW - kenya

KW - east africa

M3 - internal PhD, WU

SN - 9789085859369

PB - S.n.

CY - [S.l.]

ER -