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Household Structure, Climate Change, and Livelihoods in southern Africa

  • Author / Creator
    Dassanayake, Wijaya Kumar
  • This thesis investigates three areas under the theme of household structure, climate change and livelihoods in southern Africa. The use of female-headship to identify vulnerable subgroups and to direct poverty-alleviation policies is a contentious issue in the literature. In the first paper of this thesis, we demonstrate the importance of heterogeneity in household structures for establishing clear links between female-headship and household income. Using data from Zimbabwe and South Africa we find that female-headed households, as a whole, do not have lower incomes than male-headed households. Income differentials across female-headed households are significantly related to the amount of male presence and its complementarity with children living in the households. After accounting for these sources of observed heterogeneity, we find significant unexplained heterogeneity across female-headed households. Current empirical approaches that investigate the adoption of innovations in response to future climate change suffer several limitations due to their reliance on cross sectional data. In the second paper of this thesis, we overcome these limitations by using the contingent behavior method. Using a unique set of data collected in rural Eastern Cape in 2011, we examine how households would adopt different livelihood activities (i.e. gardening, livestock, natural resource harvesting, casual labor, small business and formal employment) in response to future climate change. Our results show that households increase the adoption of natural resource harvesting, casual labor, and small business in response to increases in dry-spells, and gardening and livestock in response to increases in wet-spells. In southern Africa, potential differences between men and women with respect to access to productive resources, division of labor and preferences in allocating household resources are likely to create gender differences in adoption of innovations. In the third paper of this thesis, we investigate the differences in the adoption of innovations in response to future climate change between men and women who live in different household headships. This study also uses the contingent behavior method and the data from rural Eastern Cape collected in 2011. We find that men and women who live in different household headship types are likely to adopt different innovations in response to future climate change.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2014-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R32R3P408
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Doctoral
  • Department
    • Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology
  • Specialization
    • Agricultural and Resource Economics
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Mohapatra, Sandeep (Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
    • Luckert, Martin (Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Swallow, Brent (Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)