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Land constraints and agricultural intensification in Ethiopia: A village-level analysis of high-potential areas:

  • Headey, Derek D.
  • Dereje, Mekdim
  • Ricker-Gilbert, Jacob
  • Josephson, Anna
  • Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum

This paper explores the race between these two countervailing forces, with the goal of informing two important policy questions. First, how do rural Ethiopians adapt to land constraints? And second, do land constraints significantly influence welfare outcomes in rural Ethiopia? To answer these questions we use a recent household survey of high-potential areas. We first show that farm sizes are generally very small in the Ethiopian highlands and declining over time, with young rural households facing particularly severe land constraints. We then ask whether smaller and declining farm sizes are inducing agricultural intensification, and if so, how. We find strong evidence in favor of the Boserupian hypothesis that land-constrained villages typically use significantly more purchased input costs per hectare and more family labor, and achieve higher maize and teff yields and high gross income per hectare.

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series ESSP working papers with number 58.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:esspwp:58
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  1. Binswanger, Hans & Pingali, Prabhu, 1988. "Technological Priorities for Farming in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 3(1), pages 81-98, January.
  2. Deininger, Klaus & Ali, Daniel Ayalew & Alemu, Tekie, 2007. "Assessing the functioning of land rental markets in Ethiopia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4442, The World Bank.
  3. Dercon, Stefan & Gilligan, Daniel O. & Hoddinott, John & Woldehan, Tassew, 2008. "The impact of agricultural extension and roads on poverty and consumption growth in fifteen Ethiopian villages:," IFPRI discussion papers 840, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  4. Bereket Kebede, 2006. "Land Reform, Distribution of Land and Institutions in Rural Ethiopia: Analysis of Inequality with Dirty Data," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2006-05, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Headey, Derek & Dereje, Mekdim & Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum, 2014. "Land constraints and agricultural intensification in Ethiopia: A village-level analysis of high-potential areas," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 129-141.
  6. Beegle, Kathleen & Carletto, Calogero & Himelein, Kristen, 2011. "Reliability of recall in agricultural data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5671, The World Bank.
  7. Alan de Brauw & Valerie Mueller, 2012. "Do Limitations in Land Rights Transferability Influence Mobility Rates in Ethiopia?," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 21(4), pages 548-579, August.
  8. Kinsey, Bill H. & Binswanger, Hans P., 1993. "Characteristics and performance of settlement programs : a review," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1207, The World Bank.
  9. Deininger, Klaus & Jin, Songqing & Adenew, Berhanu & Gebre-Selassie, Samuel & Nega, Berhanu, 2003. "Tenure security and land-related investment - evidence from Ethiopia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2991, The World Bank.
  10. Deininger, Klaus & Ali, Daniel Ayalew & Alemu, Tekie, 2011. "Productivity effects of land rental markets in Ethiopia : Evidence from a matched tenant-landlord sample," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5727, The World Bank.
  11. Headey, Derek & Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum & You, Liangzhi, 2014. "Diversification and Development in Pastoralist Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 200-213.
  12. Byerlee, Derek & Spielman, David J. & Alemu, Dawit & Gautam, Madhur, 2007. "Policies to promote cereal intensification in Ethiopia: A review of evidence and experience," IFPRI discussion papers 707, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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