How Do Endogenous Cultural Institutions (not) Shape Peasant Farmers’ Climate Adaptation Practices? Learning from Rural Cameroon

27 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2021 Last revised: 10 Apr 2021

See all articles by Magdalene Silberberger

Magdalene Silberberger

University Witten/Herdecke

Jude Kimengsi

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: April 8, 2021


The inter-linked issues of climate change and sustainable development remain high on the science and policy agenda, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where context-specific local adaptation practices are required in her agricultural system. However, the dearth of scientific (quantitative) evidence on how endogenous cultural institutions (ECIs) shape the local adaptation practices of rural farmers in SSA, stalls, in part, the advancement of climate adaptation practice in the agricultural sector. Based on a representative sample of 158 farming households in rural Cameroon, we contribute to bridge this knowledge gap, by: (1) exploring the household socio-economic attributes and general social and political factors that determine peasant farmer’s compliance with agro-based ECIs, and (2) estimating the effect of ECI compliance on farmers’ adaptation practices. Our estimation revealed the following: Increasing compliance with ECIs is a function of increasing age of peasant farmers. While political factors do not sufficiently explain compliance with ECIs, state influence, mirrored through the application of formal rules significantly contributes to a decline in compliance. Differential levels of compliance with ECIs produce differential climate adaptation outcomes; while some ECIs (e.g. traditional rain forecast) significantly explain several climate adaptation practices, others (e.g. pouring of libation) do not. While we conclude that the differentiated effects of ECI compliance manifest throughout the climate adaptation practices of peasant farmers, we also call for further empirical evidence to ground this claim.

Keywords: values, norms, compliance, peasant farming, climate change, adaptation choices, endogenous institutions, cultural institutions, logit estimation

JEL Classification: 013, 018, Q23, Q54

Suggested Citation

Silberberger, Magdalene and Kimengsi, Jude, How Do Endogenous Cultural Institutions (not) Shape Peasant Farmers’ Climate Adaptation Practices? Learning from Rural Cameroon (April 8, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Magdalene Silberberger (Contact Author)

University Witten/Herdecke ( email )

Alfred-Herrhausen-Straße 50
Witten, 58448
+49 (0)2302 / 926-509 (Phone)

Jude Kimengsi

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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