Why Risk Management has trouble locating Seasonality


Why Risk Management has trouble locating Seasonality Attempting to draw general lessons from the theoretical, empirical and policy responses to seasonality leaves one slightly disappointed for a number of reasons. At one level there exists an instrumentalist response in the form of technical innovations to smooth production and consumption efficiencies that vary with the ‘cruel’ seasons. There is no limit to the number of studies that have been conducted and technologies implemented in this vein. At another level, the seminal work on seasonality (Chambers et al, Gill, Sahn) point to the integrated nature of seasonality and poverty, where seasonality defies definition, being nuanced by multiple and complex livelihoods. There is still another level of emerging literature that introduces unpredictability and chaos into analyses of seasonality. Few people would deny the striking effects of seasonality on poor people’s livelihoods, so in this paper we set out to ask 1) why seasonality has made little to no impression on risk management frameworks; 2) why seasonality has had such limited policy traction and; 3) what are some obstacles for policy in attempted to integrated seasonality considerations. In the second part of the paper we use data from an evaluation of the PSNP in Ethiopia to elucidate a number of our points and draw conclusions about how to encourage more explicit considerations of seasonality within policy responses to risk and vulnerability.

File: Sabates-Wheeler_2009_-_Seasonality_and_Risk_Management.pdf