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To Specialize or Diversify: Agricultural Diversity and Poverty Dynamics in Ethiopia

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  • Michler, Jeffrey D.
  • Josephson, Anna L.

Abstract

Recent agricultural development policies have begun to shift focus from the promotion of a few staple crops toward encouraging crop diversity. The belief is that crop diversification is an effective strategy for dealing with a variety of issues, including poverty alleviation. However, there is a lack of empirical evidence to justify these positions. We contribute to filling this research gap by providing quantitative evidence on the impact of diversity in crop cultivation on household poverty. Using household panel data from Ethiopia we develop a diversity index to measure the effect of crop diversity on poverty status. To control for endogeneity and selection bias resulting from unobserved heterogeneity we utilize a recently developed parametric method for estimating dynamic binary response models with endogenous contemporaneous regressors. Our results provide evidence that households which grow a diverse set of crops are less likely to be poor than households that specialize in their crop production. Additionally, crop diversity reduces the probability that a non-poor household will fall into poverty and the probability that a poor household will remain in poverty. We conclude that crop diversification is a viable way to deal with the exigencies of being poor.

Suggested Citation

  • Michler, Jeffrey D. & Josephson, Anna L., 2017. "To Specialize or Diversify: Agricultural Diversity and Poverty Dynamics in Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 214-226.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:89:y:2017:i:c:p:214-226
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.08.011
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    Cited by:

    1. Hirons, M. & Robinson, E. & McDermott, C. & Morel, A. & Asare, R. & Boyd, E. & Gonfa, T. & Gole, T.W. & Malhi, Y. & Mason, J. & Norris, K., 2018. "Understanding Poverty in Cash-crop Agro-forestry Systems: Evidence from Ghana and Ethiopia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 31-41.
    2. Varun Kumar Das & A. Ganesh Kumar, 2017. "Drivers of Farmers' Income: The Role of Farm Size and Diversification," Working Papers id:12104, eSocialSciences.
    3. Lovo, Stefania & Veronesi, Marcella, 2019. "Crop Diversification and Child Health: Empirical Evidence From Tanzania," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 168-179.
    4. Varun Kumar Das, 2018. "Looking Beyond the Farm and Household: Determinants of On-farm Diversification in India," Working Papers id:12945, eSocialSciences.
    5. Varun Kumar Das, 2018. "Looking beyond the farm and household: Determinants of on-farm diversification in India," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2018-023, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    6. Bekele Gebisa Etea & Deyi Zhou & Kidane Assefa Abebe & Dessalegn Anshiso Sedebo, 2019. "Household Income Diversification and Food Security: Evidence from Rural and Semi-Urban Areas in Ethiopia," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(12), pages 1-16, June.
    7. Garbero, A. & Songsermsawas, T., 2018. "IFAD RESEARCH SERIES 31 - Impact of modern irrigation on household production and welfare outcomes: evidence from the participatory small-scale irrigation development programme (PASIDP) project in Eth," IFAD Research Series 280080, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
    8. Bolier Torres & Cristian Vasco & Sven Günter & Thomas Knoke, 2018. "Determinants of Agricultural Diversification in a Hotspot Area: Evidence from Colonist and Indigenous Communities in the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve, Ecuadorian Amazon," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(5), pages 1-21, May.
    9. Ecker, O., 2018. "Agricultural Transformation and Food and Nutrition Security: Does Farm Production Diversity (Still) Matter for Dietary Diversity among Ghanaian Farm Households?," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 276999, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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