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Rainfall Uncertainty and Occupational Choice in Agricultural Households of Rural Nepal

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  • Nidhiya Menon

Abstract

Although agriculture is the main occupation in rural Nepal, evidence suggests that households strive to diversify their sources of income. This paper investigates why this is the case. Using household data from the World Bank and information on rainfall for the various rural districts of Nepal, we find that occupational choice is highly correlated to the uncertainty associated with historical rainfall patterns. Where the head is employed in agriculture, other family members are less likely to choose agriculture as an occupation in districts where rain is more uncertain. Estimates indicate that for a 1 per cent increase in the coefficient of variation of rain, there is a 0.61 per cent decrease in the probability of choosing the same occupation as the household head, where the head is classified as self-employed in agriculture. The negative effect of rainfall uncertainty on occupational choice is less evident in households that have access to credit, and in households with relatively high levels of human capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Nidhiya Menon, 2009. "Rainfall Uncertainty and Occupational Choice in Agricultural Households of Rural Nepal," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(6), pages 864-888.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:45:y:2009:i:6:p:864-888 DOI: 10.1080/00220380902807387
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    Cited by:

    1. Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2011. "The Role of Technological Change in Increasing Gender Equity with a Focus on Information and Communications Technologyy," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2011-007, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
    2. Sushenjit Bandyopadhyay & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2015. "Rainfall variability, occupational choice, and welfare in rural Bangladesh," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 589-634, September.
    3. Nidhiya Menon & Yana van der Meulen Rodgers, 2010. "War and Women’s Work: Evidence from the Conflict in Nepal," Working Papers 19, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.
    4. Safir, Abla & Piza, Sharon Faye & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 2013. "Disquiet on the weather front : the welfare impacts of climatic variability in the rural Philippines," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6579, The World Bank.
    5. Sailesh Tiwari & Hanan G. Jacoby & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2017. "Monsoon Babies: Rainfall Shocks and Child Nutrition in Nepal," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65(2), pages 167-188.
    6. Javier E. Baez & Leonardo Lucchetti & Maria E. Genoni & Mateo Salazar, 2017. "Gone with the Storm: Rainfall Shocks and Household Wellbeing in Guatemala," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(8), pages 1253-1271, August.
    7. Fiszbein, Ariel & Kanbur, Ravi & Yemtsov, Ruslan, 2013. "Social Protection, Poverty, and the Post-2015 Agenda," Working Papers 180070, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    8. Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2013. "Changing Technologies of Household Production: Causes and Effects," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2013-004, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
    9. Magnus Hatlebakk, 2013. "Intergenerational determinants of occupational choice: The case of international labor migration from Nepal," CMI Working Papers 2, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway.

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