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Traps and Thresholds in Pastoralist Mobility

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  • Russell Toth

Abstract

This article presents a new approach to identifying poverty traps in East African pastoralist communities. A flexible semiparametric estimation procedure is used to identify a bifurcation in the propensity to engage in the asset-based, mobile herding livelihood, in comparison to the sedentary alternative, as a function of herd size. The identified threshold is consistent with previous evidence on poverty traps based on modeling herd stock dynamics. The approach contributes to an emerging literature that seeks to identify poverty traps through testing the implications of the posited behavioral mechanism behind the trap, as opposed to directly modeling asset dynamics. The approach is further employed to provide complementary evidence on the relationship between ability and assets in sustaining mobile pastoralism.

Suggested Citation

  • Russell Toth, 2015. "Traps and Thresholds in Pastoralist Mobility," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 97(1), pages 315-332.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:97:y:2015:i:1:p:315-332.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/ajae/aau064
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Matzkin, Rosa L., 1986. "Restrictions of economic theory in nonparametric methods," Handbook of Econometrics,in: R. F. Engle & D. McFadden (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 42, pages 2523-2558 Elsevier.
    2. MARIEKE HUYSENTRUYT & CHRISTOPHER B. BARRETT & JOHN G. McPEAK, 2009. "Understanding Declining Mobility and Inter-household Transfers among East African Pastoralists," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(302), pages 315-336, April.
    3. Paulo Santos & Christopher B. Barrett, 2017. "Heterogeneous Wealth Dynamics: On the Roles of Risk and Ability," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Poverty Traps National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Mccarthy, Nancy & Di Gregorio, Monica, 2007. "Climate variability and flexibility in resource access: the case of pastoral mobility in Northern Kenya," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(03), pages 403-421, June.
    5. Travis J. Lybbert & Christopher B. Barrett & Solomon Desta & D. Layne Coppock, 2004. "Stochastic wealth dynamics and risk management among a poor population," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(498), pages 750-777, October.
    6. Michelle Adato & Michael Carter & Julian May, 2006. "Exploring poverty traps and social exclusion in South Africa using qualitative and quantitative data," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 226-247.
    7. Matzkin, Rosa L, 1992. "Nonparametric and Distribution-Free Estimation of the Binary Threshold Crossing and the Binary Choice Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 239-270, March.
    8. Zimmerman, Frederick J. & Carter, Michael R., 2003. "Asset smoothing, consumption smoothing and the reproduction of inequality under risk and subsistence constraints," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 233-260, August.
    9. Christopher Barrett & Paswel Phiri Marenya & John Mcpeak & Bart Minten & Festus Murithi & Willis Oluoch-Kosura & Frank Place & Jean Claude Randrianarisoa & Jhon Rasambainarivo & Justine Wangila, 2006. "Welfare dynamics in rural Kenya and Madagascar," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 248-277.
    10. Barrett , Christopher B & Carter , Michael R & Ikegami , Munenobu, 2008. "Poverty traps and social protection," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 42752, The World Bank.
    11. John G. McPeak & Christopher B. Barrett, 2001. "Differential Risk Exposure and Stochastic Poverty Traps Among East African Pastoralists," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(3), pages 674-679.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paulo Santos & Christopher B. Barrett, 2017. "Heterogeneous Wealth Dynamics: On the Roles of Risk and Ability," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Poverty Traps National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Sarah A. Janzen & Michael R. Carter, 2013. "After the Drought: The Impact of Microinsurance on Consumption Smoothing and Asset Protection," NBER Working Papers 19702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Janzen, Sarah A. & Carter, Michael R. & Ikegami, Munenobu, 2012. "Valuing Asset Insurance in the Presence of Poverty Traps: A Dynamic Approach," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124805, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. repec:eee:deveco:v:129:y:2017:i:c:p:14-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jensen, Nathaniel & Barrett, Christopher B. & Mude, Andrew, 2014. "Index Insurance and Cash Transfers: A Comparative Analysis from Northern Kenya," MPRA Paper 61372, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Barrett, Christopher B. & Santos, Paulo, 2014. "The impact of changing rainfall variability on resource-dependent wealth dynamics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 48-54.
    7. Janzen, Sarah A. & Carter, Michael R., 2013. "The Impact of Microinsurance on Consumption Smoothing and Asset Protection: Evidence from a Drought in Kenya," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 151141, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    8. repec:pal:gpprii:v:42:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1057_s41288-017-0060-5 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • C50 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - General

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