Food-For-Work For Poverty Reduction And The Promotion Of Sustainable Land Use: Can It Work?
AbstractFood-for-work (FFW) programs are commonly used both for short-term relief and long-term development purposes. In the latter capacity, they are increasingly used for natural resources management projects. Barrett, Holden and Clay (forthcoming) assess the suitability of FFW programs as insurance to cushion the poor against short-term, adverse shocks that could, in the absence of a safety net, have permanent repercussions. In this paper we explore the complementary question of FFW programs' potential to reduce poverty and promote sustainable land use in the longer run through induced changes in investment patterns. FFW programs commonly aim to produce or maintain potentially valuable public goods necessary to stimulate productivity and thus income growth. Among the most common projects are road building, reforestation, and the installation of terracing or irrigation. In the abstract, public goods such as these are unambiguously good. There is a danger, however, that such programs could discourage private soil and water conservation and crowd out private investment. How important are such effects and when are these effects small or large and when and how can they be reduced? How do market characteristics, timing and design of FFW programs affect this? When, where and how can FFW programs more efficiently reduce poverty and promote more sustainable land management? The paper aims to answer these questions. Much recent empirical research has focused on the shorter-term targeting issue of whether FFW and related workfare programs efficiently target the poor (Dev 1995, Von Braun 1995, Webb 1995, Subbarao 1997, Clay et al. 1998, Devereux 1999, Jayne et al. 1999, Ravallion 1999, Teklu and Asefa 1999, Atwood et al. 2000, Gebremedhin and Swinton 2000, Haddad and Adato 2001, Jalan and Ravallion 2001). Much less research has been focused on the longer-term effects of FFW. Yet the large share of hunger worldwide arises due to chronic deprivation and vulnerability, not short-term shocks (Speth 1993, Barrett 2002). Also most of the FFW programs in Ethiopia have long-term development goals and are formally distinguished from the disaster relief FFW programs (Aas and Mellemstrand 2002). It is therefore appropriate to evaluate these programs based on their long-term goals and not only on the basis of short-term targeting. In a case study in Tigray Aas and Mellemstrand (2002) found that the FFW recipients considered the long-term benefits of FFW as more important than the short-term benefits of food provision. FFW programs may produce valuable public goods. For example, Von Braun et al. (1999) report multiplier effects of a FFW-built road in the Ethiopian lowlands. Public provision of public goods may be socially desirable because private investment in soil and water conservation and tree planting may be well below socially optimal levels due to poverty and market imperfections (Holden, Shiferaw and Wik 1998, Holden and Shiferaw 2002, Holden and Yohannes 2002, Pender and Kerr 1998), tenure insecurity (Gebremedhin and Swinton 2000, Holden, Benin, Shiferaw and Pender 2003), lack of technical knowledge and coordination problems across farms (Hagos and Holden 2002). There is, however, also a danger that FFW programs crowd out private investments (Gebremedhin and Swinton 2000). We analyze these issues using multiple methods. First, section II introduces a simple theoretical framework for understanding the analytically ambiguous effects of FFW programs on sustainable land use patterns. We first present the basic intuition in a static framework to illustrate the selection, crowding out and targeting issues, before generalizing it to a dynamic model to illustrate the possible insurance and crowding in effects of FFW. Section III then uses an applied, dynamic bio-economic farm household model applied to a less-favoured area in Ethiopia to investigate via numerical simulation how household welfare and land use patterns vary with changes in environmental and FFW program design parameters. Section IV presents econometric evidence based on survey panel data from northern Ethiopia to assess the relationship between FFW and private investment in conservation. Section V discusses our findings and fleshes them out a bit with further empirical evidence. Section VI concludes.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management in its series Working Papers with number 14759.
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Food Security and Poverty; Q18; O1; Q2; I1;
Other versions of this item:
- Holden, Stein & Barrett, Christopher B. & Hagos, Fitsum, 2006. "Food-for-work for poverty reduction and the promotion of sustainable land use: can it work?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 15-38, February.
- Holden, Stein T. & Barrett, Christopher B. & Hagos, Fitsum, 2003. "Food-for-work for Poverty Reduction and the Promotion of Sustainable Land Use: Can It Work?," Working Papers 127797, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
- Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
- O1 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
- Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
- I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Haddad, Lawrence James & Adato, Michelle, 2001.
"How effectively do public works programs transfer benefits to the poor?,"
FCND discussion papers
108, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
- 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).
- 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.
- Barrett, Christopher B., 1998.
"Stochastic Food Prices And Slash-And-Burn Agriculture,"
Economics Research Institute, ERI Study Papers
28344, Utah State University, Economics Department.
- Barrett, Christopher B., 1999. "Stochastic food prices and slash-and-burn agriculture," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 161-176, May.
- 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.
- Jayne, Thomas S. & Strauss, John & Yamano, Takashi & Molla, Daniel, 2000. "Targeting Of Food Aid in Rural Ethiopia: Chronic Need or Inertia?," Food Security International Development Papers 54048, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
- 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.
- 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).
- Stein Holden & Hailu Yohannes, 2002. "Land Redistribution, Tenure Insecurity, and Intensity of Production: A Study of Farm Households in Southern Ethiopia," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 78(4), pages 573-590.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Akay, Alpaslan & Martinsson, Peter & Medhin, Haileselassie, 2009.
"Does Positional Concern Matter in Poor Societies? Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Rural Ethiopia,"
IZA Discussion Papers
4354, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- 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.
- Bezu, Sosina & Holden, Stein, 2008. "Can food-for-work encourage agricultural production?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 541-549, December.
- 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.
- 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.
- Andersson, Camilla & Mekonnen, Alemu & Stage, Jesper, 2009. "Impacts of the Productive Safety Net Program in Ethiopia on Livestock and Tree Holdings of Rural Households," Discussion Papers dp-09-05-efd, Resources For the Future.
- 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.
- Erreygers G. & Ferede T., 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.
- 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.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.