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Boda-bodas rule: Non-agricultural activities and their inequality implications in Western Kenya

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  • Lay, Jann
  • M'Mukaria, George Michuki
  • Omar Mahmoud, Toman

Abstract

Diversification into non-agricultural activities in rural areas can be broadly classified as either survival-led or opportunity-led. The existence of these two types of non-agricultural activities implies a U-shaped relationship between the share of income derived from non-agricultural activities and household wealth as well as total household income. Survival-led engagement in non-agricultural activities would be inequality-decreasing through increasing the incomes of the poorer parts of the population and would reduce poverty. Opportunity-led diversification, by contrast, would increase inequality and have a minor effect on poverty, as it tends to be confined to non-poor households. Using data from a household survey conducted by ourselves in Western Kenya, we find the overall share of non-agricultural income in this very poor region to be important, but below the sub-Saharan African average. Multivariate analyses confirm the existence of both survival-led and opportunity-led diversification. Yet, the poverty and inequality implications of the differently motivated diversification strategies differ somewhat from our expectations. As expected, we find high-return activities to be confined to richer households, while both rich and poor households are engaged in low-return activities. Very poor households even appear to be excluded from the latter. Simple simulation exercises illustrate the inequality-increasing and very limited poverty effects of increases in high-return income, whereas increased low-return income shows substantial poverty reduction leverage. Our findings indicate that rural households do not only face asset constraints, but also very limited or relatively risky high-return opportunities outside agriculture. --

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics in its series Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Göttingen 2007 with number 20.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec07:6543

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Keywords: Income diversification; Non-agricultural activities; Inequality;

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Cited by:
  1. Atamanov, Aziz & Van den Berg, Marrit, 2011. "Microeconomic analysis of rural nonfarm activities in the Kyrgyz Republic: What determines participation and returns?," MERIT Working Papers 011, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  2. Lay, Jann & Schüler, Dana, 2008. "Income Diversification and Poverty in a Growing Agricultural Economy: The Case of Ghana," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Zurich 2008 39, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  3. World Bank, 2009. "Kenya - Poverty and Inequality Assessment : Executive Summary and Synthesis Report," World Bank Other Operational Studies 3081, The World Bank.
  4. Liverpool, Lenis Saweda O. & Winter-Nelson, Alex, 2010. "Poverty Status and the Impact of Formal Credit on Technology Use and Wellbeing among Ethiopian Smallholders," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 541-554, April.

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