NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Sarah A. Janzen

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Working Papers

October 2016Poverty Traps and the Social Protection Paradox
with Munenobu Ikegami, Michael R. Carter, Christopher B. Barrett: w22714
Progressively targeted cash transfers remain the dominant policy response to chronic poverty in developing countries. But are there alternative social protection policies that might have larger poverty impacts over time for the same public expenditure? To explore this question, this paper develops a dynamic stochastic model of of consumption and asset accumulation by households that confront a non-convex production technology and face missing financial markets. The model demonstrates that a hybrid social protection policy, which devotes resources to funding “state of the world contingent transfers” (SWCTs) to vulnerable, but non-poor households in the wake of negative shocks, can result in lower rates of poverty in the medium term than does a conventional cash transfer policy. We also expl...

Forthcoming: Poverty Traps and the Social Protection Paradox, Munenobu Ikegami, Michael R. Carter, Christopher B. Barrett, Sarah Janzen. in The Economics of Asset Accumulation and Poverty Traps, Barrett, Carter, and Chavas. 2016

December 2013After the Drought: The Impact of Microinsurance on Consumption Smoothing and Asset Protection
with Michael R. Carter: w19702
To cope with shocks, poor households with inadequate access to financial markets can sell assets to smooth consumption and, or reduce consumption to protect assets. Both coping strategies can be economically costly and contribute to the intergenerational transmission of poverty, yet limited evidence exists regarding the effectiveness of insurance to mitigate these costs in risk-prone developing economies. Utilizing data from an RCT in Kenya, this paper estimates that on average an innovative microinsurance scheme reduces both forms of costly coping. Threshold econometrics grounded in theory reveal a more complex pattern: (i) wealthier households primarily cope by selling assets, and insurance makes them 96 percentage points less likely to sell assets following a shock; (ii) poorer househol...

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