Date: February 7, 2023
Countries: Afghanistan, Central Asia
Keywords: drought, weather shocks, Afghanistan

This paper studies the effect of the 2018 drought on household consumption and poverty in Afghanistan, a semi-arid and conflict-affected country. The paper combines geolocated household data with remote-sensing weather data on precipitation, vegetation, and temperature. The findings show that drought-like conditions decreased monthly per capita consumption expenditures and hence increased poverty, with a highly nonlinear relationship between consumption and weather shocks. When forced to cut back, households reduced nonfood consumption to maintain their food consumption; only under severe stress did they reduce food consumption. Households that owned agricultural land were more resilient to the 2018 drought. Based on the historical distribution of weather shocks, estimates of vulnerability to poverty suggest that 62.5 percent of people have a one in four probability of falling into poverty due to weather shocks. Given that climate change will exacerbate the frequency and severity of future droughts, these findings highlight the importance of investments in resilience and shock-responsive social protection to supplement urgent humanitarian assistance.

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