Modeling the Impact of Natural Resource-Based Poverty Traps on Food Security in Kenya: The Crops, Livestock and Soils in Smallholder Economic Systems (CLASSES) Model

36 Pages Posted: 18 May 2011

See all articles by Emma C. Stephens

Emma C. Stephens

Pitzer College

Charles Nicholson

Adjunct Associate Professor; Clinical Associate Professor

Douglas R. Brown

affiliation not provided to SSRN

David Parsons

University of Tasmania

Christopher B. Barrett

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management

Johannes Lehmann

Cornell University

David Mbugua

World Argoforestry Centre (ICRAF); Cornell University

Solomon Ngoze

Cornell University

Alice Pell

Cornell University

Susan Riha

Cornell University - New York State Water Resources Institute

Date Written: April 2011

Abstract

We investigate the interactions between natural resource-based poverty traps and food security for smallholder farms in highland Kenya using a recently developed system dynamics bio-economic model. This approach permits examination of the complex interactions and feedback between farm-household economic decision-making and long term soil fertility dynamics that appear to characterize persistent poverty and food insecurity among smallholders in rural highland Kenya. We examine the effects of changing initial endowments of land and stocks of on-farm soil organic matter on smallholders’ well-being, as reflected in several different indicators. We show that larger and higher quality land endowments permit accumulation of cash and livestock resources and conservation of soil organic matter relative to smaller or more degraded farms. This suggests the existence of asset thresholds that divide food secure households from insecure ones.

Keywords: Poverty traps, Kenya, food security, bio-economic modeling, system dynamics

Suggested Citation

Stephens, Emma C. and Nicholson, Charles F. and Brown, Douglas R. and Parsons, David and Barrett, Christopher B. and Lehmann, Johannes and Mbugua, David and Ngoze, Solomon and Pell, Alice and Riha, Susan, Modeling the Impact of Natural Resource-Based Poverty Traps on Food Security in Kenya: The Crops, Livestock and Soils in Smallholder Economic Systems (CLASSES) Model (April 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1844623 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1844623

Emma C. Stephens

Pitzer College ( email )

1050 North Mills Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711
United States

Charles F. Nicholson

Adjunct Associate Professor ( email )

333 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7801
United States

Clinical Associate Professor ( email )

Dept. of Supply Chain & Information Systems
University Park, PA 16802-3306
United States
814-863-3229 (Phone)
814-863-7067 (Fax)

Douglas R. Brown

affiliation not provided to SSRN

David Parsons

University of Tasmania ( email )

French Street
Sandy Bay
Tasmania, 7250
Australia

Christopher B. Barrett (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management ( email )

315 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7801
United States
607-255-4489 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://aem.cornell.edu/faculty_sites/cbb2/

Johannes Lehmann

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

David Mbugua

World Argoforestry Centre (ICRAF) ( email )

United Nations Avenue, Gigiri
P.O. Box 30677-00100 GPO
Nairobi
Kenya

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Solomon Ngoze

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Alice Pell

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Susan Riha

Cornell University - New York State Water Resources Institute ( email )

1023 Bradfield Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-1901
United States

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