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The returns to participation in the non-farm sector in rural Rwanda

  • Dabalen, Andrew
  • Paternostro, Stefano
  • Pierre, Gaelle

In this paper, we investigate the differences in outcomes (earnings and consumption) between individuals (households) who participate in the non-farm sector and those who do not. We use propensity score matching methods, where we create appropriate comparison groups of individuals and households. First we find that non-farm self-employed individuals in rural Rwanda have significantly higher earnings than farm workers and non-farm formal employees. Second, we show that the benefits to non-farm self-employment are much higher among the non-poor than among the poor. Third, we show that diversified households, those with a farm and a non-farm enterprise, are less likely to be poor. Finally, farm households who do not participate in the market have significantly lower consumption levels than households that do. However, the benefits to market participation appear to matter less for the poor than for the non-poor. We find little difference in expenditures between market participants and non-market participants, for comparable households in the bottom 40% of the expenditure distribution.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3462.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3462
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  1. Lanjouw, Jean O. & Lanjouw, Peter, 2001. "The rural non-farm sector: issues and evidence from developing countries," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 1-23, October.
  2. Barrett, C. B. & Reardon, T. & Webb, P., 2001. "Nonfarm income diversification and household livelihood strategies in rural Africa: concepts, dynamics, and policy implications," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 315-331, August.
  3. Sascha O. Becker & Andrea Ichino, 2002. "Estimation of average treatment effects based on propensity scores," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(4), pages 358-377, November.
  4. Vijverberg, P.M., 1992. "Measuring Income from Family Enterprises with Household Surveys," Papers 84, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
  5. Dunn, Thomas & Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 2000. "Financial Capital, Human Capital, and the Transition to Self-Employment: Evidence from Intergenerational Links," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 282-305, April.
  6. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Causal Effects in Non-Experimental Studies: Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 6586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ahituv, Avner & Kimhi, Ayal, 2002. "Off-farm work and capital accumulation decisions of farmers over the life-cycle: the role of heterogeneity and state dependence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 329-353, August.
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