Vulnerability to poverty following extreme weather events in Malawi

Severe weather shocks recurrently hit Malawi, and they adversely affect the incomes of many farm households as well as small businesses. With climate change, the frequency of extreme weather events is expected to increase further. A clear understanding of households’ vulnerability to shock-induced poverty is critical for disaster risk management and the design of scalable social safety net programs. Standard poverty measures rely on static snapshots that are suitable for quantifying structural poverty but not for assessing the vulnerability of non-poor households to fall below the poverty line when they experience shocks. This study uses a nationally representative household survey and exogenously measured weather shocks to assess households' vulnerability to poverty in Malawi. To accurately estimate the impacts of shocks on consumption and vulnerability, the study excludes any kind of assistance (aid and food or cash transfers) that households might have received after major disasters.