Poverty Traps and Natural Disasters in Ethiopia and Honduras
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Droughts, hurricanes, and other environmental shocks punctuate the lives of poor and vulnerable populations in many parts of the world. The direct impacts can be horrific, but what are the longer-term effects of such shocks on households and their livelihoods? Under what circumstances will shocks push households into poverty traps from which recovery may not be possible without external assistance? In an effort to answer these questions, this paper analyzes the asset dynamics of Ethiopian and Honduran households in the wake of severe environmental shocks. While the patterns are different across countries, both reveal worlds in which the poorest households struggle most with shocks, adopting coping strategies which are costly in terms of both short term and long-term well being. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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