Can Female Non-Farm Labor Income Reduce Income Inequality? Evidence from Rural Southern Ethiopia
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.
|Date of creation:||02 Sep 2011|
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