Impacts of the 2010 Droughts and Floods on Community Welfare in Rural Thailand: Differential Effects of Village Educational Attainment
Alessandra Garbero, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, VID/ÖAW and WU), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Raya Muttarak, Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, VID/ÖAW and WU), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
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Climatic events can have disastrous consequences on rural livelihoods, which rely mainly on agriculture and natural resources. The way households and communities respond to climatic shocks depends on their available resources. We formulated that education is a human capital asset that can increase coping abilities in difficult times because education improves access to both social and economic resources. Based on the Thai government surveys of the living conditions and life quality of 68,343 rural villages for the years 2009 and 2011, we investigated the impacts of floods and droughts in 2010 on community welfare, i.e., consumption and income in 2011 at the village level. Using difference-in-difference methods, we analyzed how differential demographic composition and education could reduce or increase economic vulnerability to natural disasters. We found that floods and droughts do not produce a negative effect either on food and nonfood consumption, investment in agriculture and education, or on income. However, this applies mainly to communities with higher educational attainment partly because these communities can better secure government financial aid for flood and drought affected areas. Education thus may have an important role in reducing economic vulnerability.
consumption and income smoothing; drought; economic vulnerability; education; flood; Thailand; welfare