Few Opportunities, Much Desperation: The Dichotomy of Non-Agricultural Activities and Inequality in Western Kenya

Jann Lay*, Toman Omar Mahmoud, George Michuki M'Mukaria

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    44 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Using data from Western Kenya, we confirm the existence of a dichotomous non-agricultural sector. The poverty and inequality implications of the differently motivated diversification strategies only partly correspond to expected patterns. While high-return activities are indeed confined to richer households, low-return activities constitute an important income source for households across the entire income distribution. Finally, we examine the wider implications of our findings for rural livelihoods. We find that only engagement in high-return non-agricultural activities is significantly associated with increased agricultural productivity. It seems that such high-return activities play a key role in triggering cumulative effects of relative livelihood success.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2713-2732
    Number of pages20
    JournalWorld Development
    Volume36
    Issue number12
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008

    Keywords

    • agricultural productivity
    • income diversification
    • inequality
    • Kenya
    • non-agricultural activities
    • sub-Saharan Africa

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