Farm & Family Balance

The intra-household and gender dynamics of cash-cropping


Collaborators: Kate Ambler and Mike O'Sullivan

2016-2018. American Economic Association RCT Registry # AEARCTR-0001647

Despite much interest in increasing women’s access to markets and improving the returns to their efforts, little rigorous evidence exists about what works to achieve these objectives. In this study we use a randomized-controlled trial to test two approaches, one designed to be championed and scaled-up by private sector actors, and one that addresses the intrahousehold barriers to women’s participation and access to profits.

We have partnered with a large cash crop processor in Jinja, Uganda, and 2,300 smallholder farming households that sell to it. Households are randomly assigned in a 2x2 design to receive one, both, or neither of the two study interventions. Both interventions are designed to increase women's access to output markets and control over the returns to their labor. The first intervention is a Family Vision Workshop that encourages spousal communication and cooperation, gender sensitivity, and women’s participation in cash cropping. The second intervention includes encouragement to men to either transfer a cash crop contract to a wife or allow a wife to register a new contract in her own name. Take-up of the interventions was 80% and 70%, respectively.

We will evaluate whether these interventions affect intra-household allocation of resources, decision-making power, consumption and investment, productivity of the cash crop at the household level, and success of contract fulfillment for the buyer. Baseline data collection prior to randomization included lab-in-the-field experiments to provide novel measurements of existing intra-marital dynamics and women’s bargaining power. Follow-up data collection will include high-frequency measures of labor allocation and personal consumption, as well as detailed agricultural productivity, experimental measures of bargaining power, and standard measures of decision-making, food security, and other welfare indicators.

Publications & Working Papers

"Empowering women to engage in commercial agriculture" with Kate Ambler and Michael O'Sullivan. Forthcoming in American Economic Association Papers & Proceedings 2022.

"Facilitating women's access to an economic empowerment initiative: Evidence from Uganda." (2021) with Kate Ambler and Michael O’Sullivan. World Development, 138. (open access link) Previous version: IFPRI Discussion Paper 01762.

Measurement of intra-household resource control: Exploring the validity of experimental measures” (2021) with Maria Recalde and Kate Ambler. IFPRI Discussion Paper 01984 (link) Manuscript under review

"Increasing women's empowerment: Implications for family welfare" with Kate Ambler and Michael O’Sullivan (2021) IZA Discussion Paper 14861 (link)

Project Notes

"Farm & Family Balance" (link)

"Role of men in a women’s empowerment initiative: Evidence from Uganda" (link)

"The quality of sugarcane registered to women: Evidence from an intervention in Uganda" (link)