Livelihoods, Precarious Work and Disaster Vulnerability: Nicaragua and Hurricane Mitch

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Hörsaal 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Peter LOEBACH, Weber State University, USA
In the interdisciplinary study of hazards vulnerability, examination of how livelihoods operate as determinants of vulnerability is only a very recent line of inquiry.  Few quantitative works have been produced.  This study contributes to this area by examining the recovery outcomes of Nicaraguan households impacted by the Hurricane Mitch event of 1998, as predicted by predominant livelihood profiles.  An emphasized point of livelihood differentiation in this study is ownership of productive means, a central element of vulnerability according to the sociological theory of work precarity.  This study utilizes panel data available for Nicaragua from the Living Standards and Measurement Survey, extending over a 10 year period, preceding and following the Hurricane Mitch event.  Hierarchical agglomerative clustering is used to generate predominant household livelihood profiles.  To examine how these livelihood categories associate with resilience, random effects longitudinal regression is utilized to regress change in ownership of household assets on household livelihood categories, a variable that designates households having experienced damage from the disaster, and interaction effects of the disaster variable with each livelihood category variable.  Findings reveal uneven outcomes by livelihood, with households reliant upon agricultural wage employment unable to achieve the recovery outcomes of households reliant upon other livelihoods.  These results indicate that in the context of natural disasters, reliance on wage employment is especially problematic for those whose livelihoods are reliant on the intrinsically sensitive to environmental disruptions, agricultural sector.