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Food-for-work for poverty reduction and the promotion of sustainable land use: can it work?

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  • HOLDEN, STEIN
  • BARRETT, CHRISTOPHER B.
  • HAGOS, FITSUM

Abstract

Food-for-work (FFW) programs are commonly used both for short-term relief and long-term development purposes. This paper assesses the potential of FFW programs to reduce poverty and promote sustainable land use in the longer run. There is a danger that such programs distort labor allocation or crowd out private investments and therefore have unintended negative effects. We explore this issue using survey evidence from northern Ethiopia that we use to motivate a simple theoretical model, a more detailed version of which we then implement through an applied bio-economic model calibrated to northern Ethiopia. The analysis explores how FFW project outcomes may depend on FFW project design, market conditions, and technology characteristics. We show that FFW programs may either crowd out or crowd in private investments and highlight factors that condition whether FFW promotes or undercuts sustainable land use.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Environment and Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 11 (2006)
Issue (Month): 01 (February)
Pages: 15-38

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Handle: RePEc:cup:endeec:v:11:y:2006:i:01:p:15-38_00

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References

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  1. Shiferaw, Bekele & Holden, Stein T., 1998. "Resource degradation and adoption of land conservation technologies in the Ethiopian Highlands: A case study in Andit Tid, North Shewa," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 18(3), pages 233-247, May.
  2. Holden, Stein T. & Shiferaw, Bekele & Wik, Mette, 1998. "Poverty, market imperfections and time preferences: of relevance for environmental policy?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 105-130, February.
  3. Jayne, T. S. & Strauss, John & Yamano, Takashi & Molla, Daniel, 2001. "Giving to the Poor? Targeting of Food Aid in Rural Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 887-910, May.
  4. Pender, John L. & Kerr, John M., 1998. "Determinants of farmers' indigenous soil and water conservation investments in semi-arid India," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 19(1-2), pages 113-125, September.
  5. Clay, Daniel C. & Molla, Daniel & Habtewold, Debebe, 1999. "Food aid targeting in Ethiopia: A study of who needs it and who gets it," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 391-409, August.
  6. Shiferaw, Bekele & Holden, Stein T., 2001. "Farm-level benefits to investments for mitigating land degradation: empirical evidence from Ethiopia," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(03), pages 335-358, July.
  7. Holden, Stein & Shiferaw, Bekele, 2004. "Land degradation, drought and food security in a less-favoured area in the Ethiopian highlands: a bio-economic model with market imperfections," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 31-49, January.
  8. Barrett, Christopher B., 1998. "Stochastic Food Prices And Slash-And-Burn Agriculture," Economics Research Institute, ERI Study Papers 28344, Utah State University, Economics Department.
  9. Teklu, Tesfaye & Asefa, Sisay, 1999. "Who Participates in Labor-Intensive Public Works in Sub-Saharan Africa? Evidence from Rural Botswana and Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 431-438, February.
  10. Pender, John L. & Kerr, John M., 1998. "Determinants of farmers' indigenous soil and water conservation investments in semi -arid India," Agricultural Economics: The Journal of the International Association of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 19(1-2), September.
  11. Haddad, Lawrence James & Adato, Michelle, 2001. "How effectively do public works programs transfer benefits to the poor?," FCND briefs 108, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  12. Holden, Stein & Yohannes, Hailu, 2001. "Land redistribution, tenure insecurity, and intensity of production: a study of farm households in southern Ethiopia," CAPRi working papers 21, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  13. K. Subbarao, 1997. "Public Works as an Anti-Poverty Program: An Overview of Cross-Country Experience," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(2), pages 678-683.
  14. Christopher B. Barrett & Peter Arcese, 1998. "Wildlife Harvest in Integrated Conservation and Development Projects: Linking Harvest to Household Demand, Agricultural Production, and Environmental Shocks in the Serengeti," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 74(4), pages 449-465.
  15. Jayne, Thomas S. & Strauss, John & Yamano, Takashi & Molla, Daniel, 2002. "Targeting of food aid in rural Ethiopia: chronic need or inertia?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 247-288, August.
  16. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Income gains to the poor from workfare - estimates for Argentina's TRABAJAR Program," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2149, The World Bank.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Akay, Alpaslan & Martinsson, Peter & Medhin, Haileselassie, 2012. "Does Positional Concern Matter in Poor Societies? Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Rural Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 428-435.
  2. Ghebru, Hosaena & Holden, Stein, 2013. "Links between Tenure Security and Food Security: Evidence from Ethiopia," CLTS Working Papers 2/13, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
  3. Abdulai, Awudu & Barrett, Christopher B. & Hazell, Peter, 2004. "Food aid for market development in Sub-Saharan Africa," DSGD discussion papers 5, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  4. ERREYGERS, Guido & FEREDE, Tadele, 2009. "The end of subsistence farming: Growth dynamics and investments in human and environmental capital in rural Ethiopia," Working Papers 2009008, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
  5. Wunder, Sven & Engel, Stefanie & Pagiola, Stefano, 2008. "Taking stock: A comparative analysis of payments for environmental services programs in developed and developing countries," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 834-852, May.
  6. Andersson, Camilla & Mekonnen, Alemu & Stage, Jesper, 2011. "Impacts of the Productive Safety Net Program in Ethiopia on livestock and tree holdings of rural households," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 119-126, January.
  7. Bezu, Sosina & Holden, Stein, 2008. "Can food-for-work encourage agricultural production?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 541-549, December.
  8. Barrett, Christopher B., 2008. "Smallholder market participation: Concepts and evidence from eastern and southern Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 299-317, August.
  9. Marenya, Paswel Phiri & Smith, Vincent H. & Nkonya, Ephraim M., 2012. "Subsistence farmer preferences for alternative incentive policies to encourage the adoption of conservation agriculture in Malawi: A choice elicitation approach," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124010, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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