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Soybeans, Poverty and Inequality in the Brazilian Amazon

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  • Weinhold, Diana
  • Killick, Evan
  • Reis, Eustaquio Jose

Abstract

The recent growth of soybean cultivation in the Brazilian Amazon has been unprecedented, even as the debate continues over its economic and environmental consequences. Based on contemporary datasets as well as our own field studies, this paper examines the social and economic costs and benefits of increases in soybean production for local populations. After presenting some background information on the rise of soybean cultivation in Brazil we examine the relationship between increases in soybean production and local economic indicators. We find that increased soy production raises median rural incomes and may reduce poverty. However, we also note that this increase is associated with increased measures of inequality, and we consider the wider political and social consequences of this connection in our qualitative fieldwork. The mixed-method approach helps shed light not only economic effects of soy cultivation but also on the more complex social and political context that is, arguably, even more policy-relevant.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 29647.

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Date of creation: 15 Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:29647

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Keywords: soybeans; land use; brazil; poverty; inequality;

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  1. Corrina Steward, 2007. "From colonization to “environmental soy”: A case study of environmental and socio-economic valuation in the Amazon soy frontier," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 107-122, March.
  2. Andersen,Lykke E. & Granger,Clive W. J. & Reis,Eustaquio J. & Weinhold,Diana & Wunder,Sven, 2002. "The Dynamics of Deforestation and Economic Growth in the Brazilian Amazon," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521811972.
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