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By Caroline O. N. Moser

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Extra info for Confronting Crisis: A Comparative Study of Household Responses to Poverty and Vulnerability in Four Poor Urban Communities (Environmentally Sustainable Development Studies and Monographs Series)

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2. Urban poorHousingCase studies. 3. Informal sector (Economics)Case studies. I. Title. II. Series. 5'09173'2dc20 95-52826 CIP Page iii CONTENTS Foreword vii Acknowledgments x Executive Summary 1 Chapter 1 Introduction 15 What Can Community Studies Contribute? 16 What the Study Found 17 Part I Conceptual Framework and Socioeconomic Characteristics of the Four Communities 21 Chapter 2 Poverty and Vulnerability 23 Vulnerability, Asset Ownership, and Coping Strategies 24 Criteria for Selecting Case Studies 26 Socioeconomic Characteristics of the Research Communities 27 Poverty Trends in the Research Communities 28 Part II Household Coping Strategies 29 Chapter 3 Labor As an Asset 32 Mobilizing Women's Paid Labor 32 Trends in Male Employment 33 Mobilizing Children's Labor 34 Benefits and Costs of the "Added Worker Effect" 35 Chapter 4 Economic and Social Infrastructure As an Asset 38 Improving Access to Infrastructure in the 1970s and 1980s 38 Increasing Human Capital 39 Declining Economic Infrastructure and the Ability to Pay 40 Shifting to Private Health and Education Services 42 Long-Term Implications of Declining Infrastructure 43 Page iv Chapter 5 Housing As an Asset 44 Vulnerability and the Land Market 44 Security of Tenure and Investment in Housing 45 Reducing Vulnerability through Home-Based Enterprises 47 Chapter 6 Household Relations As an Asset 48 Internal and External Forces in Household Restructuring 48 Different Communities, Similar Trends in Household Restructuring 49 Diverse Restructuring Strategies to Reduce Vulnerability 50 Chapter 7 Inequalities in Household Responses 53 Balancing Productive Work with Domestic Responsibilities 53 Balancing Responsibilities and Labor Supply Constraints 55 Decisionmaking and Resource Allocation within Households 55 Social Costs of Household Adjustments 56 Domestic Conflict and Violence 58 Chapter 8 Social Capital As an Asset 60 Settlement Consolidation, Social Capital, and Negotiating Skills 60 Social Capital under Conditions of Economic Crisis 61 Declining Time for Community Participation 62 Changing Norms of Legitimacy and Illegitimacy 63 Contradictory Trends in Social Capital Stocks 65 Chapter 9 Priorities for Action 67 Recommendations for Action 67 Tools for Strengthening the Assets of the Poor 69 Appendixes 1.

With these changes often come increasing risk and uncertainty and declining self-respect. Because people move into and out of poverty, the concept of vulnerability better captures processes of change than more static measures of poverty. Analyzing vulnerability involves identifying not only the threat, but also the "resilience" in exploiting opportunities and in resisting or recovering from the negative effects of the changing environment. The means of resistance are the assets that individuals, households, or communities can mobilize in the face of hardship.

Poor households' greater vulnerability to service deficiencies and cuts in public spending can reduce their income-earning capacity. Where access to services has deteriorated, the poor must often spend more time to meet daily needs. Women are most severely affected by poor access and quality. Because their labor is critical to reducing vulnerability, this can have important implications for household welfare: when it takes women longer to carry out such tasks as fetching water, they have less time for income-generating activities.

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Confronting Crisis: A Comparative Study of Household Responses to Poverty and Vulnerability in Four Poor Urban Communities (Environmentally Sustainable Development Studies and Monographs Series) by Caroline O. N. Moser


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