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Wealth, risk and activity choices: cattle in Western Tanzania

  • Stefan Dercon

Imperfect credit markets force households to use their own savings for investment. Profitable activities often require lumpy investments making it harder for poorer households to enter such activities, resulting in increasing welfare differences. In mixed-farming systems in Tanzania, cattle are a profitable but lumpy investment and a liquid asset for consumption-smoothing. Richer households own substantial cattle herds, while poorer households specialize more in low return, low risk activities A dynamic programming model and numerical simulations are presented to analyze entry into asset accumulation under income risk. The empirical evidence suggests that households with lower endowments find it harder to start up cattle-rearing and returns to their endowments are lower than for cattle owners.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/1996-08.

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Date of creation: 01 May 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/1996-08
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  1. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1990. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Discussion Papers 911, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  7. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Binswanger, Hans P., 1989. "Wealth, Weather Risk and the Composition and Profitability of Agricultural Investments," Bulletins 7455, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  9. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1989. "Credit as insurance in agrarian economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 37-53, July.
  10. Udry, Christopher, 1995. "Risk and Saving in Northern Nigeria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1287-1300, December.
  11. Hoff, Karla & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1990. "Imperfect Information and Rural Credit Markets--Puzzles and Policy Perspectives," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 4(3), pages 235-50, September.
  12. Deaton, A., 1992. "Saving and Income Smoothing in Cote d'Ivoire," Papers 156, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  13. Bevan, David & Collier, Paul & Gunning, Jan Willem, 1990. "Peasants and Governments: An Economic Analysis," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286219, July.
  14. Gersovitz, Mark, 1988. "Saving and development," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 381-424 Elsevier.
  15. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 1989. "Credit Market Constraints, Consumption Smoothing and the Accumulation of Durable Production Assets in Low-Income Countries: Investments in Bullocks in India," Bulletins 7487, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  16. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1994. "Poverty, Incentives, and Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 211-15, May.
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