Federica Di Battista

Scared to Be Poor: vulnerability and Poverty in Great Britain at the Beginning of the 20th century

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Poverty; Vulnerability; Insurance; Great Britain; 1900-1914.

This work explores the determinants of poverty in Edwardian Britain. We use a new household budget sample collected between 1900 and 1914 to understand what role vulnerability played in determining poverty and undernutrition. First, using a probit model we find that due to perceived risk on one hand, and to social norms on the other, families purchased insurance schemes as a strategy to cope with uncertainty. Second, using recursive mixed process estimation, we find that the decision to insure caused a reallocation from food to precautionary expenditures, which led to a significant reduction in calorie availability.

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