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Can Female Non-Farm Labor Income Reduce Income Inequality? Evidence from Rural Southern Ethiopia

  • Kimhi, Ayal

This article examines the importance of non-farm income in reducing per-capita income inequality among agricultural households in southern Ethiopia, with an emphasis on the gender dimension. Using a modified technique of inequality decomposition by income sources applied to household survey data, it was found that female non-farm labor income is the only income source that significantly reduces per-capita income inequality. More precisely, a uniform increase in female non-farm labor income, among households that already have income from this source, reduces inequality. Encouraging women to devote more time to non-farm income-generating activities, and creating market mechanisms that increase earnings in these activities, could potentially lift households out of poverty and at the same time reduce income inequality as a whole. The impact on inequality could be stronger if policies are directed at asset-poor households and less-educated households in particular. One of the policies that could be useful in this regard is female educational enhancements. This could open more opportunities for women in the hired labor market, improve women's position within the household, and promote overall income inequality as well as gender equality.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/114756
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Paper provided by European Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland with number 114756.

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Date of creation: 02 Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ags:eaae11:114756
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  1. Agnes R. Quisumbing & John A. Maluccio, 2003. "Resources at Marriage and Intrahousehold Allocation: Evidence from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and South Africa," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 65(3), pages 283-327, 07.
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  12. Marrit van den Berg & Girma Earo Kumbi, 2006. "Poverty and the rural nonfarm economy in Oromia, Ethiopia," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 35(s3), pages 469-475, November.
  13. Takashi KUROSAKI & Seiro ITO & Nobuhiko FUWA & Kensuke KUBO & Yasuyuki SAWADA, 2006. "Child Labor And School Enrollment In Rural India: Whose Education Matters?," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 44(4), pages 440-464.
  14. Burtless, Gary, 1999. "Effects of growing wage disparities and changing family composition on the U.S. income distribution," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 853-865, April.
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