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Sowing the seeds of social relations: social capital and agricultural diversity in Hararghe Ethiopia


  • Cavatassi, Romina
  • Lipper, Leslie
  • Winters, Paul


The paper presents an analysis of the role of two forms of social capital – linking and bonding – on two key farm outcomes: on-farm crop diversity and household wellbeing. Where market transactions are limited, social capital is an important household asset for accessing seed and channelling information. The study is set in a drought-prone region of Ethiopia, with high rates of food insecurity and dependency on agriculture for livelihoods. The region is very rich in crop genetic diversity, particularly for sorghum. The data were collected for a production year that experienced a major drought shock. Results of the analysis indicate that social capital is an important determinant of farm level diversity and wellbeing, with opposing effects related to the two different forms of social capital. This suggests possible trade-offs between the two forms of social capital in terms of food security, production and diversity, which need to be considered in planning interventions.

Suggested Citation

  • Cavatassi, Romina & Lipper, Leslie & Winters, Paul, 2012. "Sowing the seeds of social relations: social capital and agricultural diversity in Hararghe Ethiopia," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(05), pages 547-578, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:endeec:v:17:y:2012:i:05:p:547-578_00

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    Cited by:

    1. Asfaw, Solomon & Savastano, Sara, 2015. "Topic: Building Resilience to Climate Change Through Social Protection and Climate-Smart Agriculture: Synergies and Trade-offs," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 210963, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Swallow, Kimberly A. & Swallow, Brent M., 2015. "Explicitly integrating institutions into bioeconomic modeling:," IFPRI discussion papers 1420, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Hayatullah Ahmadzai, 2017. "Status, patterns, and microeconomic drivers of the extent of diversity in crop production: Evidence from Afghanistan," Discussion Papers 2017-07, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    4. Veljanoska, Stefanija, 2014. "Agricultural risk and remittances: the case of Uganda," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 182788, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. Asfaw, Solomon & McCarthy, Nancy & Paolantonio, Adriana & Cavatassi, Romina & Amare, Mulubrhan & Lipper, Leslie, 2015. "Diversification, Climate Risk and Vulnerability to Poverty: Evidence from Rural Malawi," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 230216, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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