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Analysis of the Household Economy and Expenditure Patterns of a Traditional Pastoralist Society in Southern Ethiopia


  • Wassie Berhanu
  • Bichaka Fayissa


Some key features of the Borana household economy are explored in the changing context of growing pastoralist exposure to the exchange system. Despite past commercialization efforts, the pastoral economy has largely remained unmonetized. The average cattle off-take rate is found to be well below 10% for the sample Borana households of which only 11% of the household off-take decisions were made for the primary purpose of financing non-pastoral business. Such decisions are largely made by the actual conditions of life principally associated with the need to procure cereal grains and meeting other basic needs. The analysis of household expenditure patterns reveals income diversity as a key determinant of the growing importance of "imported" items in pastoral household budgets. The apparent elastic demand for stimulants in this connection is a critical matter for local actions in the context of eroding traditional values.

Suggested Citation

  • Wassie Berhanu & Bichaka Fayissa, 2010. "Analysis of the Household Economy and Expenditure Patterns of a Traditional Pastoralist Society in Southern Ethiopia," Working Papers 201005, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:mts:wpaper:201005

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wassie Berhanu & David Colman & Bichaka Fayissa, 2007. "Diversification and livelihood sustainability in a semi-arid environment: A case study from southern Ethiopia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(5), pages 871-889.
    2. Clements, Kenneth W & Selvanathan, Saroja, 1994. "Understanding Consumption Patterns," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 69-110.
    3. Delgado, Christopher L. & Hopkins, Jane & Kelly , Valerie & Hazell, P. B. R. & McKenna, Anna A. & Gruhn, Peter & Hojjati, Behjat & Sil, Jayashree & Courbois, Claude, 1998. "Agricultural growth linkages in Sub-Saharan Africa:," Research reports 107, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Cossins, Noel J. & Upton, Martin, 1987. "The Borana pastoral system of Southern Ethiopia," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 199-218.
    5. M. H. Doran & A. R. C. Low & R. L. Kemp, 1979. "Cattle as a Store of Wealth in Swaziland: Implications for Livestock Development and Overgrazing in Eastern and Southern Africa," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 61(1), pages 41-47.
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    More about this item


    Pastoralism; Household expenditure; Borana; Ethiopia;

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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