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Food-for-work for poverty reduction and the promotion of sustainable land use: can it work?

  • HOLDEN, STEIN
  • BARRETT, CHRISTOPHER B.
  • HAGOS, FITSUM

Food-for-work (FFW) programs are commonly used both for short-term relief and long-term development purposes. In this paper we assess the potential of FFW programs to reduce poverty and promote sustainable land use in the longer run. There is a danger that such programs distort labor allocation or crowd out private investments and therefore have negative side effects. How important are such effects, when are these effects small and large, and when and how can they be reduced? How do technology and market characteristic and the design of FFW programs affect the long-run impact of FFW interventions? When, where and how can FFW programs more efficiently reduce poverty and promote more sustainable land management? Could FFW programs even be used to crowd in private investments? The paper attempts to provide answers to these questions, drawing on empirical evidence and an applied bio-economic farm household model for a less-favoured area in northern Ethiopia.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Environment and Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 11 (2006)
Issue (Month): 01 (February)
Pages: 15-38

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Handle: RePEc:cup:endeec:v:11:y:2006:i:01:p:15-38_00
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  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Pender, John L. & Kerr, John M., 1998. "Determinants of farmers' indigenous soil and water conservation investments in semi-arid India," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 19(1-2), pages 113-125, September.
  15. Shiferaw, Bekele & Holden, Stein T., 1998. "Resource degradation and adoption of land conservation technologies 1n the Ethiopian Highlands: A case study in Andit Tid, North Shewa," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 18(3), May.
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