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Nonfarm microenterprise performance and the investment climate : evidence from rural Ethiopia

  • Loening, Josef
  • Rijkers, Bob
  • Soderbom, Mans

This paper uses uniquely matched household, enterprise and community survey data from four major regions in rural Ethiopia to characterize the performance, constraints and opportunities of nonfarm enterprises. The nonfarm enterprise sector is sizeable, particularly important for women, and plays an important role during the low season for agriculture, when alternative job opportunities are limited. Returns to nonfarm enterprise employment are low on average and especially so for female-headed enterprises. Women nevertheless have much higher participation rates than men, which attest to their marginalized position in the labor market. Most enterprises are very small and rely almost exclusively on household members to provide the required labor inputs. Few firms add to their capital stock or increase their labor inputs after startup. Local fluctuations in predicted crop performance affect the performance of nonfarm enterprises, becauseof the predominant role played by the agricultural sector. Enterprise performance is also affected by the localized nature of sales and limited market integration for nonfarm enterprises. The policy implications of these and other findings are discussed.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4577.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2008
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4577
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  1. Lanjouw, Jean O. & Lanjouw, Peter, 2001. "The rural non-farm sector: issues and evidence from developing countries," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 26(1), October.
  2. Bartelsman, Eric & Haltiwanger, John & Scarpetta1, Stefano, 2004. "Microeconomic evidence of creative destruction in industrial and developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3464, The World Bank.
  3. David J. McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2006. "Do Entry Costs Provide an Empirical Basis for Poverty Traps? Evidence from Mexican Microenterprises," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55, pages 3-42.
  4. Escribano, Alvaro & Guasch, J. Luis, 2005. "Assessing the impact of the investment climate on productivity using firm-level data : methodology and the cases of Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3621, The World Bank.
  5. 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.
  6. Jin, Songqing & Deininger, Klaus W. & Sur, Mona, 2005. "Sri Lanka's Rural Non-farm Economy: Removing Constraints to Pro-poor Growth," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19280, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  7. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
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  9. Mead, Donald C. & Liedholm, Carl, 1998. "The dynamics of micro and small enterprises in developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 61-74, January.
  10. Cabral, Luis, 1995. "Sunk Costs, Firm Size and Firm Growth," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 161-72, June.
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