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Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn (2018)

Ethiopian Youth in Agriculture : Relative Deprivation, Well-being and Occupational Choices

Sakketa Tekalign Gutu

Titre : Ethiopian Youth in Agriculture : Relative Deprivation, Well-being and Occupational Choices

Auteur : Tekalign Gutu Sakketa

Université de soutenance : Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

Grade : Doktor der Agrarwissenschaften (Dr.Agr.) 2018

Résumé
Africa has the highest share of young people in the world relative to the total population, with the median age of the population under 25 years old, which is not expected to change in the coming decades. This high proportion of young people, combined with other factors, has prompted a sharp rise in youth unemployment in many Sub-Saharan African countries, including Ethiopia, with implications for Africa’s social and economic future. This thesis examines the current dynamics of youth employment, occupational choices, and factors driving these dynamics within the agricultural sector in Ethiopia across space, time, and gender. Using gender and age-specific values of agricultural labor return from farm-level panel data collected from a sample of youth and households in rural Ethiopia, the second chapter econometrically investigates the effect of marginal products of labor (or shadow wages) on youth agricultural labor supply across gender, time and farm locations. Evidence from fixed effects and fixed effects instrumental variables (FE-IV) models show that changes in economic incentives (or shadow wages) matter for youth’s involvement in agriculture, but their impact differs for young men and women. Results suggest that it is necessary to enhance labor productivity and employment opportunities, as well as structural transformation addressing the imperfections and rigidities in labor and other input markets, to make agriculture more attractive to youth. Recent empirical work provides evidence that people take actions out of a concern for relative standing, suggesting that more can be explained if we move beyond the standard choice theory and recognize relative concerns. Incorporating relative deprivation (RD) in youth occupational choices helps to provide a complementary explanation, if not an alternative explanation, to better understand occupational choices of rural youth and the causes of rural under-development in Ethiopia. Relative concerns (or positional income concerns) are one mechanism through which income or wealth inequality is hypothesized to affect human behavior such as occupational choices, with consequences on well-being. Employing survey experimental methods and a socio-demographic survey, the third chapter finds that positional concerns for income vary across household members (youth, mothers and fathers) impacting on the youth’s well-being. Chapter four extends the analysis of relative concerns from income per se to consider social as well as assets (non-monetary) RD, using objective and subjective measures. The evidence suggests that while income RD has a motivational impact (resulting from a “positive externality”), assets and social capital RD have deterrent impacts (resulting from a “status effect”) on the well-being of youth, though this varies across young men and women. The thesis aids understanding of the implications of different forms of relative deprivations by examining their interactions with both the underlying drivers of occupational choices of young people and the occupational choices themselves. Using different estimation techniques, chapter five finds that RD is a strong predictor of occupational choices of the rural youth and their engagement in agriculture (irrespective of the RD and occupational choice indicators employed), together with an influence of the preferences and attributes of the parents. This thesis argues that confining RD to the monetary sphere may be misleading and doing so does not capture the real effects of RD on the well-being or occupational choices. In addition, the use of multiple reference groups and measures suggest possible areas of intervention to enhance the positive externalities arising from economic gains to peers, not captured using conventional approaches. The thesis indicates that controlling for both father and mother attributes simultaneously crucially interacts with the impacts of RD and that indicators of realized and intended occupational choices vary greatly. Studies using such data for the labor market, poverty and/or migration policy analysis should be mindful of such variations.

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Page publiée le 3 janvier 2019, mise à jour le 10 mars 2020