Poverty, Risk Aversion, and Path Dependence in Low-Income Countries: Experimental Evidence from Ethiopia

Peer Reviewed
1 January 2009

In most low-income countries, rural households depend on mixed rain-fed agriculture/livestock production, which is very risky. Due to numerous market failures, there are few ways to shift risks to third parties.


This paper estimates levels and determinants of risk aversion in the highlands of Ethiopia. We find high risk aversion and evidence that constraints have important impacts on risk-averting behavior with perhaps significant implications for long-term poverty. The results also suggest the possibility of path dependence and offer insights into links between risk aversion and poverty traps.


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Publication | 10 September 2009