Well-Being and Shocks: Challenges in Poverty Measurement and AnalysisDissertation
Datum der mündl. Prüfung:2023-11-08
Betreuer:Prof. Dr. Sebastian Vollmer
Gutachter:Prof. Dr. Thomas Kneib
Gutachter:Prof. Dr. Holger Strulik
EnglischGoal 1 of the Sustainable Development Goals calls for a world free of poverty in 2030. Over the last decades, the world has made much progress in reducing poverty. However, COVID-19 has shown that these gains can be reversed when households are affected by shocks – and puts at risk the goal to end poverty by 2030. This is particularly true for households in fragile countries, which are becoming hotspots of poverty, where about two thirds of the poor are projected to live in 2030. To keep the goal of eradicating poverty alive, we need to better understand poverty especially in the context of shocks and fragility. We need good data, appropriate methodologies and solid analysis to measure poverty and the impact of shocks. This is the core challenge at the heart of this thesis. The first part of the thesis presents seven papers that aim to improve poverty measurement especially in fragile countries. First, we propose a new methodology to reduce administering time of the traditionally comprehensive consumption questionnaire using statistical imputation techniques. Second, we develop a new approach to disaggregate poverty estimates geographically in the absence of a new population census – as is often the case in fragile countries. Third, we tackle the specific issues of poverty measurement for displaced populations, starting with an overview of the diverse challenges to be encountered. Fourth, we shed light on the advantages and disadvantages of different sampling approaches for displaced populations carried out in an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camp in South Sudan. Fifth, we introduce light-touch nudges into the questionnaire to reduce measurement error, especially for aid-dependent populations. Using a combination of these methodologies, we were able to estimate poverty in Somalia for the first time in three decades and for the first time in South Sudan since independence, also produced the first comprehensive set of micro-data for IDPs and refugees in Africa. The last two papers describe the two applications in Somalia and South Sudan. The second part presents my work in measuring the impact of conflict and shocks on well-being, based on a second set of seven papers. First, we assess the impact of conflict on livelihoods in South Sudan using a cluster-level difference-in-difference approach. Second, we focus on adolescent girls and amend the analysis to specifically understand their well-being and opportunities. Third, we estimate the short-term impacts of terrorist attacks on livelihoods in Somalia, using a difference-in-difference and instrumental variable approach. Next, we analyze shocks and their impacts. The fourth paper aims to understand the impact of high inflation on livelihoods in South Sudan. The fifth paper assesses the impact of drought on poverty in Somalia. Both papers utilize a difference-in-difference approach. The sixth paper assesses the impact of COVID-19 lockdown measures on mobility and livelihoods in Kenya, based on an instrumental variable approach. Finally, we use the design of our Randomized-Control-Trial for a planned cash transfer program in South Sudan to understand the impact of the cancellation of a program on livelihoods – as the re-emergence of the conflict made it impossible to proceed with cash transfers.
Keywords: Development Economics; Poverty Measurement; Fragility; Conflict; Shocks; Household Welfare; Impact Evaluation