Consumption smoothing? Livestock, insurance and drought in rural Burkina Faso

Harounan Kazianga*, Christopher Udry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

290 Scopus citations


This paper explores the extent of consumption smoothing between 1981 and 1985 in rural Burkina Faso. In particular, we examine the extent to which livestock, grain storage and inter-household transfers are used to smooth consumption against income risk. The survey coincided with a period of severe drought, so the results provide direct evidence on the effectiveness of these various insurance mechanisms when they are the most needed. We find evidence of little consumption smoothing. In particular, there is almost no risk sharing, and households rely almost exclusively on self-insurance in the form of adjustments to grain stocks to smooth out consumption. The outcome, however, is far from complete smoothing. Hence the main risk-coping strategies which are hypothesized in the literature (risk sharing and the use of assets as buffer stocks) were not effective during the survey period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-446
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Development Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Consumption smoothing
  • Livestock
  • Permanent income hypothesis
  • Precautionary saving
  • Risk sharing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


Dive into the research topics of 'Consumption smoothing? Livestock, insurance and drought in rural Burkina Faso'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this