Caught in a Productivity Trap: A Distributional Perspective on Gender Differences in Malawian Agriculture

51 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016 Last revised: 2 Jun 2020

See all articles by Talip Kilic

Talip Kilic

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG)

Amparo Palacios-Lopez

World Bank

Markus Goldstein

World Bank

Date Written: March 1, 2013

Abstract

In targeting poverty gains, sub-Saharan African governments have emphasized the alleviation of gender differences in agricultural productivity. The empirical studies on the gender gap, however, have frequently used data that were limited regarding geographic and topical coverage, and/or details on intra-household dynamics. The study provides a nationally-representative analysis of the gender gap in Malawi, and decomposes it, for the first time, at the mean and at selected points of the agricultural productivity distribution into (i) a portion driven by gender differences in levels of observable attributes (the endowment effect), and (ii) a portion driven by gender differences in returns to the same set of observables (the structure effect). Sequentially, the authors unpack the relative contributions of different factors towards the gender gap, and suggest future research priorities to inform policy interventions. The authors find that while female-managed plots are, on average, 25 percent less productive, 82 percent of this differential is explained by differences in endowments, mainly due to high-value crop cultivation and levels of household adult male labor inputs. The factors driving the structure effect include child dependency ratio and effectiveness of household adult male labor and inorganic fertilizer. The gender gap increases across the productivity distribution, ranging from 22 percent at the 10th percentile to 37 percent at the 90th percentile. While it is explained predominantly by the endowment effect in the first half of the distribution, the contribution of the structure effect towards the gender gap increases steadily above the median, standing at 34 percent at the 90th percentile.

Keywords: Inequality, Gender and Development, Food Security, Climate Change and Agriculture, Crops and Crop Management Systems

Suggested Citation

Kilic, Talip and Palacios-Lopez, Amparo and Goldstein, Markus P., Caught in a Productivity Trap: A Distributional Perspective on Gender Differences in Malawian Agriculture (March 1, 2013). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6381, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2231884

Talip Kilic

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG) ( email )

Via Labicana 110
Rome, Lazio 00184
Italy

Amparo Palacios-Lopez

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Markus P. Goldstein

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
44
Abstract Views
456
PlumX Metrics