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Rural Income Generating Activities: Whatever Happened to the Institutional Vacuum? Evidence from Ghana, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Vietnam


  • Zezza, Alberto
  • Carletto, Gero
  • Davis, Benjamin
  • Stamoulis, Kostas
  • Winters, Paul


Summary This paper assesses the current rural development practice against the main trends in recent rural development thinking, based on evidence from four country case studies. While much progress has been made in understanding the need to look beyond only agriculture for the promotion of productive activities in rural areas, and the "institutional vacuum" consistently identified in the rural non-farm (RNF) literature is gradually being filled, much remains to be done. One aspect on which more research is particularly needed is the development of better mechanisms to promote productive investment rather than just social investment and to assess the appropriate level--community, regional, and national--at which to do this.

Suggested Citation

  • Zezza, Alberto & Carletto, Gero & Davis, Benjamin & Stamoulis, Kostas & Winters, Paul, 2009. "Rural Income Generating Activities: Whatever Happened to the Institutional Vacuum? Evidence from Ghana, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 1297-1306, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:37:y:2009:i:7:p:1297-1306

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pranab Bardhan, 2004. "Governance Issues in Delivery of Public Services," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 13(1), pages 167-182, July.
    2. Barrett, C. B. & Reardon, T. & Webb, P., 2001. "Nonfarm income diversification and household livelihood strategies in rural Africa: concepts, dynamics, and policy implications," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 315-331, August.
    3. Haggblade, Steven & Hazell, P. B. R. & Reardon, Thomas, 2002. "Strategies for stimulating poverty-alleviating growth in the rural nonfarm economy in developing countries:," EPTD discussion papers 92, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Davis, Benjamin & Covarrubias, Katia & Stamoulis, Kostas G. & Winters, Paul C. & Carletto, Calogero & Quinones, Esteban & Zezza, Alberto & Di Giuseppe, Stefania, 2007. "Rural Income Generating Activities: A Cross Country Comparison," 106th Seminar, October 25-27, 2007, Montpellier, France 7913, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. Ellis, Frank, 2000. "Rural Livelihoods and Diversity in Developing Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296966, June.
    6. Galasso, Emanuela & Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Decentralized targeting of an antipoverty program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 705-727, April.
    7. Reardon, Thomas & Berdegue, Julio & Escobar, German, 2001. "Rural Nonfarm Employment and Incomes in Latin America: Overview and Policy Implications," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 395-409, March.
    8. Bardhan, Pranab & Mookherjee, Dilip, 2005. "Decentralizing antipoverty program delivery in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 675-704, April.
    9. Marlien Lourens, 2007. "Route tourism: a roadmap for successful destinations and local economic development," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(3), pages 475-490.
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    1. repec:spr:agfoec:v:6:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1186_s40100-018-0098-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ugo Pica-Ciamarra & Luca Tasciotti & Joachim Otte & Alberto Zezza, 2015. "Livestock in the Household Economy: Cross-Country Evidence from Microeconomic Data," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 33(1), pages 61-81, January.
    3. Munir Ahmad & Umar Farooq, 2010. "The State of Food Security in Pakistan: Future Challenges and Coping Strategies," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 49(4), pages 903-923.
    4. Nguyen, Trung Thanh & Nguyen, Loc Duc & Lippe, Rattiya Suddeephong & Grote, Ulrike, 2017. "Determinants of Farmers’ Land Use Decision-Making: Comparative Evidence From Thailand and Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 199-213.

    More about this item


    rural development non-farm income agriculture institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O21 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Planning Models; Planning Policy
    • R50 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - General


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