Abstract

We develop a test of precautionary behavior in the consumption decisions of rural agricultural households. Among surveyed households facing a median level of consumption risk, 10% of savings can be attributed to a precautionary motive, and this increases to 15% for households with consumption per capita below the poverty line. We next use distant lags of local rainfall shocks uncorrelated with current consumption growth to identify the size of migrant networks outside the village, and then present evidence that both poor and nonpoor households engage in less precautionary saving as the size of the village migrant network increases.

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