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Soybeans, Poverty and Inequality in the Brazilian Amazon

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  • Weinhold, Diana
  • Killick, Evan
  • Reis, Eustaquio Jose

Abstract

The recent growth of soybean cultivation in the Brazilian Amazon has been unprecedented, even as the debate continues over its economic and environmental consequences. Based on contemporary datasets as well as our own field studies, this paper examines the social and economic costs and benefits of increases in soybean production for local populations. After presenting some background information on the rise of soybean cultivation in Brazil we examine the relationship between increases in soybean production and local economic indicators. We find that increased soy production raises median rural incomes and may reduce poverty. However, we also note that this increase is associated with increased measures of inequality, and we consider the wider political and social consequences of this connection in our qualitative fieldwork. The mixed-method approach helps shed light not only economic effects of soy cultivation but also on the more complex social and political context that is, arguably, even more policy-relevant.

Suggested Citation

  • Weinhold, Diana & Killick, Evan & Reis, Eustaquio Jose, 2011. "Soybeans, Poverty and Inequality in the Brazilian Amazon," MPRA Paper 29647, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:29647
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/29647/1/MPRA_paper_29647.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Corrina Steward, 2007. "From colonization to “environmental soy”: A case study of environmental and socio-economic valuation in the Amazon soy frontier," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 24(1), pages 107-122, March.
    2. Andersen,Lykke E. & Granger,Clive W. J. & Reis,Eustaquio J. & Weinhold,Diana & Wunder,Sven, 2002. "The Dynamics of Deforestation and Economic Growth in the Brazilian Amazon," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521811972, March.
    3. Vera-Diaz, Maria del Carmen & Kaufmann, Robert K. & Nepstad, Daniel C. & Schlesinger, Peter, 2008. "An interdisciplinary model of soybean yield in the Amazon Basin: The climatic, edaphic, and economic determinants," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 420-431, April.
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    1. repec:gam:jlands:v:6:y:2017:i:3:p:62-:d:111957 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    soybeans; land use; brazil; poverty; inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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