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Predicting Success in a Productive Asset Transfer Program: A Goat Program in Haiti


  • William M. Thompson
  • Nicholas Magnan


Livestock transfer programs have become an essential component of many non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) strategies for reducing poverty among smallholders and subsistence farmers in less developed countries. Despite their prevalence, the literature surrounding the effectiveness of this class of productive asset intervention is only starting to emerge. In this paper, we examine an NGO-sponsored goat transfer-and-training program in rural Haiti. Before realizing the ultimate program goals of improved health, greater levels of education, better housing, and more productive farms, beneficiaries must build sustainable herds of healthy goats. Our intent is to identify household characteristics correlated with success in the program. Therefore, we measure a set of outcomes related to herd health and growth, and explain their variation across beneficiaries by regressing them on a set of household variables. We use the results of the regressions to evaluate hypotheses informed by current literature in asset-based poverty. Specifically, we find compelling evidence that the wealthiest beneficiaries build smaller, less valuable herds compared to poorer beneficiaries. We find equally compelling evidence that geography affects herd growth. In addition, we find that access to land significantly reduces kid mortality, a key to sustainable, profitable goat herding. Finally, we find some evidence that female beneficiaries experience lower kid mortality. To the extent that these findings hold in other contexts, NGOs can improve the targeting of livestock programs by screening beneficiaries on these criteria.

Suggested Citation

  • William M. Thompson & Nicholas Magnan, 2017. "Predicting Success in a Productive Asset Transfer Program: A Goat Program in Haiti," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 39(2), pages 363-385.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:apecpp:v:39:y:2017:i:2:p:363-385.

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    Cited by:

    1. Edmonds, Eric & Theoharides, Caroline, 2020. "The short term impact of a productive asset transfer in families with child labor: Experimental evidence from the Philippines," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C).

    More about this item


    Livestock transfers; Productive asset transfers; Meat goat; Haiti;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets


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