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Understanding Consumption Seasonality in Zambia

Agriculture Zambia

Photo Credit: SuSanA Secretariat

Consumption seasonality is prevalent across poor countries: individuals experience predictable seasonal drops in calories each year during “lean seasons”. From the perspective of standard economic theory, predictable, recurrent fluctuations in consumption present a puzzle. In this project, the research team aims to uncover one potential cause of this: difficulty in keeping track of inflows and outflows, which generate uncertainty about one’s budget set and lead to mis-optimization. Specifically, they design a field experiment to examine the relevance of these ideas to help them understand consumption smoothing in rural Zambia.

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