The impact of agricultural and household technologies on women: A conceptual and quantitative analysis in Burkina Faso

  • Lawrence P
  • Sanders J
  • Ramaswamy S
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Agricultural technologies (new cultivars, inorganic fertilizers, soil- and water-conservation techniques) in Sub-Saharan Africa have been primarily introduced to male farmers by male-dominated extension services on the family plots. These yield-increasing, input-intensive technologies increase the demand for farm labor. So, not only do men obtain most of the direct benefits from the introduction of technology but this labor-intensive technology also increases the demands on women's time for additional labor. This raises the question: Are the combined effects of agricultural technologies beneficial or detrimental to women? We first develop a labor-market model that examines the impact of agricultural and household technologies on labor allocation and income determination within the household. We then discuss the important issue of how household labor-allocation decisions and division of income are made within the family in Sub-Saharan Africa. We use a programming model to estimate the effects of these technologies on household incomes and the income of women. The results indicate that the impact of agricultural technologies depends on the type of decision-making prevailing in the household. In contrast, household technologies increase the welfare of women regardless of the type of decision-making. However, with bargaining behavior, agricultural technologies do benefit women and there is some empirical support for this type of household behavior in Sub-Saharan African households.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Agricultural and household technologies
  • Bargaining
  • Household decision-making

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  • Pareena G. Lawrence

  • John H. Sanders

  • Sunder Ramaswamy

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