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Weather Risk, Wages in Kind, and the Off-Farm Labor Supply of Agricultural Households in a Developing Country

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  • Takahiro Ito
  • Takashi Kurosaki

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of weather risk on the off-farm labor supply of agricultural households in a developing country. Faced with the uninsurable risk of output and food price fluctuations, poor farmers in developing countries may diversify labor allocation across activities in order to smooth income in real terms.A key feature of this paper is that it distinguishes different types of off-farm labor markets: agriculture and nonagriculture on the one hand, and, wages paid in cash and wages paid in kind on the other. We develop a theoretical model of household optimization, which predicts that when farmers are faced with more production risk in their farm production, they find it more attractive to engage in nonagricultural work as a means of risk diversification, but the agricultural wage sector becomes more attractive when food security is an important issue for the farmers and agricultural wages are paid in kind. To test this prediction, we estimate a multivariate twolimit tobit model of labor allocation using household data from rural areas of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, India. The regression results show that the share of the off-farm labor supply increases with weather risk, the increase is much larger in the case of nonagricultural work than in the case of agricultural wage work, and the increase is much larger in the case of agricultural wages paid in kind than in the cash wage case. Simulation results based on the regression estimates show that the sectoral difference is substantial, implying that empirical and theoretical studies on farmers' labor supply response to risk should distinguish between the types of off-farm work involved.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series with number d07-226.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
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Handle: RePEc:hst:hstdps:d07-226

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Keywords: covariate risk; non-farm employment; self-employment; food security; India;

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  1. Anjini Kochar, 1997. "Does Lack of Access to Formal Credit Constrain Agricultural Production? Evidence from the Land Tenancy Market in Rural India," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(3), pages 754-763.
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Cited by:
  1. Ana María Ibañez Londoño & Juan Carlos Muñoz Mora & Philip Verwimp, 2013. "Abandoning Coffee under the Threat of Violence and the Presence of Illicit Crops. Evidence from Colombia," HiCN Working Papers 150, Households in Conflict Network.
  2. Marcella Veronesi & Tim Schloendorn & Astrid Zabel & Stefanie Engel, 2012. "Designing Redd+ Schemes When Forest Users Are Not Forest Landowners: Evidence From A Survey-Based Experiment In Kenya," Working Papers 15/2012, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
  3. Ito, Takahiro, 2009. "Caste discrimination and transaction costs in the labor market: Evidence from rural North India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 292-300, March.
  4. Kevin Donovan, 2011. "Risk, Farm Ownership, and International Productivity Differences," 2011 Meeting Papers 1088, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Djanibekov, Utkur & Djanibekov, Nodir & Khamzina, Asia, 2012. "CDM afforestation for managing water, energy and rural income nexus in irrigated drylands," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126765, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  6. Witt, Rudolf & Waibel, Hermann, 2011. "Constraints to diversification of poor fishery-dependent households in Cameroon," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 6(2), September.
  7. Kurosaki, Takashi, 2011. "Wages in Kind and Economic Development: Historical and Contemporary Evidence from Asia," PRIMCED Discussion Paper Series 11, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  8. Kurosaki, Takashi, 2013. "Vulnerability of Household Consumption to Floods and Droughts in Developing Countries: Evidence from Pakistan," CEI Working Paper Series 2012-10, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

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