Family Structure and Intrahousehold Resource Allocation: Evidence from Mali

One of the features of the production system in many countries of West Africa is the coexistence of both collectively-managed and individually-managed ‘private’ plots within the same. Within these households, economic activities are influenced by socio-cultural norms, which impact agricultural input decisions. This paper uses a two-year panel data on Mali to investigate intrahousehold allocation of productive resources across collective plots and ‘private’ plots. A major contribution of this paper is the clear distinction it makes between collective plots and the head’s ‘private’ plots, which is vital in understanding whether the observed yield and input differentials across collective plots and ‘private’ plots are due to headship or to the attributes of the collective plots. We find that significantly higher yields are achieved on collective plots relative to ‘private’ plots and this yield differential persists after restricting the sample to heads that control the collective plots and their own private plots. The estimations of the intensity of labor use show that collective plots are more intensively farmed with male-labor and child labor whereas the opposite is observed for femalelabor. However, after isolating the gender effect by excluding female-controlled plots from the sample, we find that collective plots are more intensively farmed than male-controlled ‘private’ plots regardless of the labor source. We infer from these results the importance of taking the gender component into account when studying intrahousehold farm-labor allocation. Unlike previous similar studies that only focus on labor allocation, we also investigate chemical fertilizer application. We find that the probability of fertilizer application tends to be higher on ‘private’ plots while the intensity of its use is higher for collective plots. These contrasting findings highlight the importance to investigate not only the probability of the use of a given technology but also the intensity of its application, especially for inputs such as fertilizer that requires a certain amount in order to obtain a yield response.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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