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Small and as Productive : Female Headed Households and the Inverse Relationship between Land Size and Output in Kenya

Author

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  • Mwangi wa Githinji

    () (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • Charalampos Konstantinidis

    () (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • Andrew Barenberg

    () (University of Massachusetts-Amherst)

Abstract

Access to land and particularly its distribution has reemerged as an important part of both academic and policy discussions in the last decade, leading to the resuscitation of the debate on the relationship between size of holdings and output per land unit. Across the world, studies have suggested the existence of a decreasing relationship between land size and output per unit of land. The most-widely accepted explanation for this relationship is that households with smaller holdings tend to be labor rich relative to land, and therefore can achieve higher output through the increased application of labor. Despite the rich literature on this topic there has been little work on whether this relationship is valid for female-headed households, particularly in the case of African countries. Past African studies have found female-headed households to be smaller by close to one adult in comparison to male-headed households. Given this difference one would expect there to be a difference in the outcome of land redistribution for different types of households, ceteris paribus. Additionally, the aggregate impact in African countries could be substantial, as female-headed households comprise in several cases up to 30 percent of the rural households. In this paper we will examine empirically whether the inverse size and output relationship is different between female and male headed households in the case of Kenya, using the Kenya Integrated Household Budget and Expenditure Survey of 2006, which includes modules on agricultural holdings and agricultural output in addition to the standard demographic characteristics. By controlling for the endogeneity of crop choice and fertilizer use we are able to find that cash crop production and human capital, and not differences in household size, determines the differences in male and female headed land productivity. Hence, our study goes beyond the simple discussion of the inverse relationship between land size and output per unit and the potential impact of redistribution. Specifically we will be able to address the kind of broad rural development policies in addition to land redistribution that would allow female headed households to do at least as well as (if not better than) male headed households. JEL Categories: J16, O13, Q15

Suggested Citation

  • Mwangi wa Githinji & Charalampos Konstantinidis & Andrew Barenberg, 2011. "Small and as Productive : Female Headed Households and the Inverse Relationship between Land Size and Output in Kenya," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2011-31, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2011-31
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dickson M. Nyariki, 2011. "Farm Size, Modern Technology Adoption, and Efficiency of Small Holdings in Developing Countries: Evidence from Kenya," Journal of Developing Areas, Tennessee State University, College of Business, vol. 45(1), pages 35-52, July-Dece.
    2. Ouma, James Okuro & De Groote, Hugo & Owuor, George, 2006. "Determinants of Improved Maize Seed and Fertilizer Use in Kenya: Policy Implications," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25433, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Peterman, Amber & Behrman, Julia & Quisumbing, Agnes, 2010. "A review of empirical evidence on gender differences in nonland agricultural inputs, technology, and services in developing countries," IFPRI discussion papers 975, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Stein Holden & Bekele Shiferaw & John Pender, 2001. "Market Imperfections and Land Productivity in the Ethiopian Highlands," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 53-70.
    5. Quisumbing, Agnes R., 1996. "Male-female differences in agricultural productivity: Methodological issues and empirical evidence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(10), pages 1579-1595, October.
    6. Udry, Christopher & Hoddinott, John & Alderman, Harold & Haddad, Lawrence, 1995. "Gender differentials in farm productivity: implications for household efficiency and agricultural policy," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 407-423, October.
    7. Deininger, Klaus & Olinto, Pedro, 2000. "Why liberalization alone has not improved agricultural productivity in Zambia : the role of asset ownership and working capital constraints," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2302, The World Bank.
    8. Place, Frank & Adato, Michelle & Hebinck, Paul, 2007. "Understanding Rural Poverty and Investment in Agriculture: An Assessment of Integrated Quantitative and Qualitative Research in Western Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 312-325, February.
    9. Jean M. Due & Christina H. Gladwin, 1991. "Impacts of Structural Adjustment Programs on African Women Farmers and Female-Headed Households," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1431-1439.
    10. Thomas Masterson, 2007. "Female Land Rights, Crop Specialization, and Productivity in Paraguayan Agriculture," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_504, Levy Economics Institute.
    11. Cornia, Giovanni Andrea, 1985. "Farm size, land yields and the agricultural production function: An analysis for fifteen developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 513-534, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Oyvat, Cem, 2016. "Agrarian Structures, Urbanization, and Inequality," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 207-230.
    2. Kassie, Menale & Ndiritu, Simon Wagura & Stage, Jesper, 2014. "What Determines Gender Inequality in Household Food Security in Kenya? Application of Exogenous Switching Treatment Regression," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 153-171.
    3. Vanya Slavchevska, 2015. "Gender differences in agricultural productivity: the case of Tanzania," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 46(3), pages 335-355, May.
    4. Ndiritu, S. Wagura & Kassie, Menale & Shiferaw, Bekele, 2014. "Are there systematic gender differences in the adoption of sustainable agricultural intensification practices? Evidence from Kenya," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(P1), pages 117-127.
    5. Marenya, Paswel & Kassie, Menale & Jaleta, Moti & Rahut, Dil Bahadur, 2015. "Does gender of the household head explain smallholder farmers' maize market positions? Evidence from Ethiopia," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212229, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agriculture; Gender; Kenya; Africa; Crop Choice; Land Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment

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