Household vulnerability in rural areas: results of an index applied during a housing crash, economic crisis and under austerity conditions

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Title: Household vulnerability in rural areas: results of an index applied during a housing crash, economic crisis and under austerity conditions
Authors: Murphy, Enda
Scott, Mark J.
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/5026
Date: Jan-2014
Abstract: The emergence of the economic crisis in 2007/2008 has increasingly exposed rural localities to exogenous shocks and ruptures within the globalised economy. Rather than focusing on economic growth alone, many commentators have begun examining how regions and localities can cope with economic crises by enhancing place resilience and reducing the vulnerability of places to global economic uncertainty. However, scant attention has been given to assessing economic vulnerability at the household scale. This paper attempts to marry and relate the global processes at work in both the literature on financialisation and vulnerability to facilitate understanding of and provide a framework for financialisation research at the household scale. In this context, we develop and apply a Household Vulnerability Index (HVI) to rural areas. Drawing on survey data, the index utilises both objective indicators (e.g. household income) and subjective indicators (e.g. household perceptions of future job insecurity) to provide a nuanced account of living conditions and life satisfaction among rural households in Ireland during a housing crash, economic recession and the widespread adoption of austerity measures across public policy. By adopting a vulnerability approach (rather than providing a ‘snapshot’), the HVI enables an assessment of not only current conditions for households, but also the probability of continued declining living standards and the exposure of households to further exogenous shocks. This provides a useful tool in assessing the potential impact of a range of public policies at the household level. In the case of Ireland, a link emerged between increased household vulnerability and rural localities that experienced an oversupply of houses during the recent speculative housing bubble, suggesting that the failure to effectively regulate development and finance has increased household exposure to financial risk.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright (published version): 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Keywords: Economic crisis;Household vulnerability;Housing;Financialisation
DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2013.10.001
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy Research Collection

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