Working Paper
Measuring Vulnerability and Poverty

Estimates for Rural India

This paper measures the vulnerability of households in rural India, based upon the ICRISAT panel survey. We employ both ex ante and ex post measures of vulnerability. The latter are decomposed into aggregate and idiosyncratic risks and poverty components. Our decomposition shows that idiosyncratic risks account for the largest share, followed by poverty and aggregate risks. Despite some degree of risk-sharing, the landless or small farmers are vulnerable to idiosyncratic risks, forcing them to reduce consumption. Income augmenting policies therefore must be combined with those that not only reduce aggregate and idiosyncratic risks but also build resilience against them.