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Volatility, agricultural risk, and household poverty: micro-evidence from randomized control trials


  • This article draws in part on joint work with Patrick Premand and Renos Vakis (World Bank), Diana Lopez (PSE–INRA), and Norbert Schady (Inter American Development Bank). I am indebted to all of them for many insights, efforts, and discussions. I thank Jo Swinnen, Olivia Riera, and participants at ICAE 2012 conference for comments and suggestions.


Households in developing countries are often highly exposed to risk and despite households’ risk strategies negative shocks often result in substantial welfare losses. Given the possibility that weather risks in particular might be further increasing, there is renewed policy attention on improving households’ risk management strategies. This article provides an overview of insights learned from recent randomized control trials on predictions coming out of the theoretical literature on households’ ex ante risk management. It reveals new puzzles and questions regarding households’ inter-temporal decision making under risk, and draws lessons for effective policy design.