Welfare impacts of technological change on women in southern Mali

It has often been hypothesized that new agricultural technologies could have an adverse impact on women because additional labor required of them reduces the time spent and therefore income earned from private-field activities. This study shows that the expansion of cotton cultivation on the household communal fields in southern Mali associated with the introduction of new technologies results in increased payments to women for their increased labor on the cotton fields. Unfortunately, these payments are small compared to the loss of revenue from private-plot production. Thus, the net effect of the expansion of household cotton cultivation is a reduction in incomes of women who cultivate private plots. Short-run policy implications of this study are that improving women's income requires concern with their private-plot earnings. For example, profitability of the private-field crops could be increased with higher input use. In the long run, as land becomes even more constrained, emphasis needs to be placed on institutional changes to increase women's bargaining power so that they obtain larger shares of the new income streams resulting from technological change on the communal field. Institutional changes already occurring in the region, with the apparent objective of increasing women's (and non-household head men's) bargaining power, include organized work teams and the movement toward smaller, nuclear families.© 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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Agricultural Economics: The Journal of the International Association of Agricultural Economists, Volume 19, Issue 1-2
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