The Effect of Hyperinflation on Asset Poverty, Asset Inequality and Child Health Inequality in Zimbabwe

Presenter: Flora M.N. Kurasha, University of Cape Town

Hyperinflation began in Zimbabwe in March 2007 and reached its peak in July 2008, with an annual inflation rate of 231 million percent and ended in 2009 after dollarisation. This study reveals hyperinflation’s effects on the well-being of households. In particular, the empirical analysis shows the changes that occurred in asset poverty, asset inequality and child health inequality during Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation period. In the analysis, asset and access variables from the 2005 (pre-hyperinflation) and 2010 (post-hyperinflation) Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey data-sets are used to construct an asset index, with the 20th and 40th percentiles as relative poverty lines. Asset derived poverty headcount and poverty gaps as well as asset inequality are measured and compared across the two periods. The national asset poverty headcount ratio decreased by 9.07% and that of rural households by 13.12%. However, urban households experienced an increase of 1,366% in asset poverty during the identified period. A further decomposition of asset inequality, reveals that 52% of asset inequality is attributable to inequality among public assets while 48% is due to inequality in private assets. While there was no significant decline in child health, measured by malnutrition, concentration indices reveal that child malnutrition was unequally distributed, with children in asset poor households being especially vulnerable. This is proven by the 1,417% increase in child health inequality among rural households.

Date: Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Time: 13h00-14h00
Venue: PLAAS Boardroom, 2nd Floor Main Hall, University of the Western Cape

For more information, contact: Joy van Dieman
Tel: 021 959 3754 or Email: jvandieman@plaas.org.za