Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Evaluating Seasonal Food Security Programs in East Indonesia

Basu, Karna and Wong, Maisy (2012): Evaluating Seasonal Food Security Programs in East Indonesia.

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Abstract

Food programs are large and expensive components of social safety nets in developing countries. For agricultural households, hunger is more acute in annual lean seasons, but food policies typically do not adapt to seasonality. There is limited research on this because of a paucity of panel data that tracks households across seasons. In this paper, we analyze consumption and income seasonality in East Indonesia. We design a unique seasonal household panel, develop a model to explain how credit and saving constraints generate seasonality, and present results from a randomized experiment of food storage and food credit. In both programs, economic well-being increased substantially (a one standard deviation increase). Under credit, participants report a reduction in both seasonal consumption gaps and food shortage, health improvements when credit is disbursed but deterioration when repayments are due. Under storage, households with a high propensity to save report a strong reduction in food shortages.

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