Taboos, agriculture and poverty
AbstractAlthough cultural practices often have important consequences for household consumption and economic performance, they are seldom studied by economists.� To fill this gap we study the impact of taboos on agriculture and poverty.� Madagascar is a good case study for this purpose given the prevalence of taboos in everyday life and the variation in cultural practices across the country.� We examine the relationship between observance of work taboos (fady days) and agriculture and consumption.� Using cross-sectional data from a national household survey, we find that 18% of agricultural households have two or more fady days per week and that an extra fady day is associated with 6 percent lower per capita consumption level and 5 percent lower rice productivity - controlling for human, ethnic and physical characteristics.� To deal with the possible endogeneity of fady days, we present instrumental variable estimates as well as heterogeneous effect regressions using village fixed effects.� We find that smaller households and those with less education employ less labor in villages with more fady days.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number CSAE WPS/2009-15.
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