Micro-level Linkages between Poverty and Fragility

In this project, we study the links between poverty and fragility in Kenya. In recent years, the Kenyan economy has developed significantly, but extreme poverty has not been eliminated. In addition, Kenya was classified as a “fragile state” after an outburst of violence after the elections in 2007, and has since been considered a “high-risk” fragility country.

To date, most empirical work on the relationship between poverty and fragility has focused on the country level. However, the complex bidirectional relationships between institutional fragility and poverty at micro-levels are much less understood, thus also limiting our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning relationships at more aggregate levels.

This project analyzes the impact of poverty on fragility at the micro level. To do so, we use detailed household-level panel data from the Horticultural Innovation and Learning for Improved Nutrition and Livelihood in East Africa (HORTINLEA) study, an interdisciplinary research program on food security in East Africa. In addition to household-level poverty measures, HORTLINEA contains an innovative set of variables capturing household-level experiences and perceptions of fragility. We use these variables to build a household-level fragility exposure index and exploit the longitudinal nature of the data to assess its relationship with household-level poverty.

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