Focusing on the vulnerability and resilience to economic shocks at the household level, this book draws on extensive research activities carried out in two Melanesia countries: the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. In particular, it identifies the household impacts of the recent food, fuel and economic crises. The contributors also examine resilience by identifying how households responded to these recent economic events in order to cope with their impacts. Findings indicate that households are vulnerable to a range of shocks and often struggle to cope with their impacts. Shocks are making it harder for households to meet their basic needs. Households in Melanesia are facing increasing demands for money, in particular for school fees, basic foodstuffs and customary obligations. Concurrently, there are limited domestic opportunities for formal employment. Traditional social support networks are strong and are an important form of resilience. However, there is evidence that they are disintegrating. Of particular focus are the gendered impacts. Women are found to bear a disproportionate share of the burden in adjusting to household shocks. The authors highlight key areas in which public policy and development programmes can reduce household vulnerability and increase their resilience to future economic shocks.
’Simon Feeny and his team provide fascinating and important insights into how Melanesia's people cope with the region's high vulnerability to shocks of all kinds. A major contribution of importance to researchers and policymakers not just in Melanesia, but for those elsewhere in the world aiming to strengthen the resilience of households and national economies.’ Tony Addison, Chief Economist and Deputy Director,United Nations University’s World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) ’This multidisciplinary analysis makes an important contribution to the understanding of the way that global macroeconomic shocks are transmitted to households. It shows how Melanesia is a unique development case and also demonstrates the way that women underpin the informal safety net in the region. I am proud of Oxfam Australia’s close involvement with this research and this book.’ Helen Szoke, Chief Executive, Oxfam Australia 'Traditional social security networks and land tenure systems in Melanesia are under threat as people increasingly move to urban centres. This book provides a very welcome rich new body of evidence to inform the policy debate and help shape the new social protection measures required in our region.' Derek Brien, Pacific Institute of Public Policy, Vanuatu