Rural Household Access to Assets and Agrarian Institutions: A Cross Country Comparison
Agriculture is at the core of the livelihoods of a large share of rural households throughout the developing world. Agricultural growth is a major engine for overall economic growth and possibly the single most important pathway out of poverty in the rural space. This paper characterizes household access to assets and agrarian institutions of households engaged in agricultural activities in a sample of developing countries. The evidence presented in the paper draws from 15 nationally representative household surveys from four regions of the developing world. We find that the access of rural households to a range of agricultural-specific assets (including land and livestock) and institutions is in general low, though highly heterogeneous across countries, and by categories of households within countries. A large share of rural agricultural households do not use or have access to basic productive inputs, agricultural support services or output markets, and in general it is the landless and the smallest landowners who suffer significantly more from this lack of access. We relate this to the households' ability to engage successfully in commercial farming and find consistent supporting evidence for the hypothesis that this lack of access is significantly constraining their potential to engage successfully in agriculture.
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