group based approaches
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The first part of the dissertation deals with the dynamics of assets owned by the household head, his spouse, or jointly by both in response to diverse shocks in rural agricultural households in Bangladesh, one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Therefore, a unique and detailed country representing household survey panel data is used, known as ‘Bangladesh Climate Change Adaptation Survey’ of 2010 and 2012. Looking at changes within rather than between households, the research shows that land is owned mostly by men, who are also wealthier than their spouses. By constructing a comprehensive index the overall effect on wealth is investigated, which does not exist in the literature yet. The results suggest that husband’s and wife’s asset holdings respond differently depending on the type of shocks. Weather shocks such as cyclones adversely affect the asset holdings of household heads in general, while predicted external events such as seasonal droughts and dowry payments reduce assets of both spouses. The results suggest that jointly owned assets are not sold in response to shocks; either due to these assets being actively protected or due to the difficulty of agreeing on this coping strategy. Women’s asset holdings and associated choices of substituting assets are shaped by their lesser involvement in agriculture. To know the changes of behavioral patterns in response to these shocks, the results suggest that households are more likely to adopt short-term coping mechanisms in response to non-climatic negative shocks rather than to climatic shocks, whereas households are more likely engage in adaptation strategies in response to the latter. Furthermore, adaptation strategies are often combined complementary efforts, whereas coping mechanisms are mutually independent across the study. In particular, group participation in general is associated with crop adaptation strategies and perceptions of climate change among women. Finally, the research seeks to explore the potential of group based approaches which is receiving a growing attention due to their possible role in securing household welfare in the presence of adverse events. The inherent endogeneity is addressed by using instrumental variables. The results suggest that household heads mainly participate in groups that are welfare augmenting and income enhancing, while their spouses are mainly active in credit groups due to less personal wealth which are more strongly negatively affected by shocks. Furthermore, evidence is found for a positive association of social and political capital with household-level welfare and with asset holdings of the household head. Interestingly, it seems that this effect is not driven by mere participation in groups, but also by other aspects of social capital, for example informal networks, of both household heads and spouses.