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Transient Health Shocks and Agricultural Labor Demand in Rice-producing Households in Mali


  • Larochelle, Catherine
  • Dalton, Timothy J.


Malaria and other transient illnesses have been recognized as factors constraining economic development in tropical countries. The purpose of this paper is to determine the direct and the indirect impact of transient illness shocks, caused primarily by malaria but also including other tropical illness, on family labor use in irrigated rice production in Mali. Family labor is the most important factor of production used in rice production in Mali and transient illness shocks may negatively impact labor supply, production and hence household welfare derived from agricultural income and consumption. Two labor demand models are estimated to determine whether illness does indeed reduce labor supply: one where the dependent variable only includes family labor and a second that combines family and hired labor. These models can be used to test two sets of hypotheses on the relationship between illness and labor supply. First, we hypothesize that short-term transient illness shocks affect household labor supply implying that intrahousehold coping mechanisms are not wholly effective. Secondly, we hypothesize that hired labor markets are ineffective in mitigating illness shocks. We find that direct and indirect health shocks reduce the effective supply of labor and that neither household nor market supply of labor can mitigate these shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Larochelle, Catherine & Dalton, Timothy J., 2006. "Transient Health Shocks and Agricultural Labor Demand in Rice-producing Households in Mali," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25314, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae06:25314

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Audibert, Martine, 1986. "Agricultural non-wage production and health status : A case study in a tropical environment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 275-291, December.
    2. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-255, March-Apr.
    3. Martine AUDIBERT, 1996. "Technical inefficiency effects among paddy farmers at the 'Office du Niger', Mali, West Africa," Working Papers 199613, CERDI.
    4. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Pitt, Mark M., 1984. "Agricultural Prices, Food Consumption and the Health and Productivity of Farmers," Bulletins 7471, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
    5. Desmond McCarthy & Holger Wolf & Yi Wu, 2000. "The Growth Costs of Malaria," NBER Working Papers 7541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Audibert, Martine & Etard, Jean-Francois, 1998. "Impact of Schistosomiasis on Rice Output and Farm Inputs in Mali," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 7(2), pages 185-207, July.
    7. Baldwin, Robert E & Weisbrod, Burton A, 1974. " Disease and Labor Productivity," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 414-435, April.
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    More about this item


    D1; I0; Q12; Crop Production/Industries; Labor and Human Capital;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • 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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