Center for Environmental Policy and Administration

Bayesian Herders: Updating of Rainfall Beliefs In Response To External Forecasts

Author:John McPeak with Travis Lybbert, Christopher B. Barrett, and Winnie Luseno
Date: January 2007
Publication:World Development 35(3):480-497. (2007)

Temporal climate risk weighs heavily on many of the world’s poor. Model-based climate forecasts could benefit such populations, provided recipients use forecast information to update climate expectations. We test whether pastoralists in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya update their expectations in response to forecast information. The minority of herders who received these climate forecasts updated their expectations for below normal rainfall, but not for above normal rainfall. This revealed preoccupation with downside risk highlights the potential value of better climate forecasts in averting drought-related losses, but realizing any welfare gains requires that recipients strategically react to these updated expectations.
Center for Environmental Policy and Administration
The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 11/05/2010 07:00:13