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The impact of rainfall variability on agricultural production and household welfare in rural Malawi

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Title: The impact of rainfall variability on agricultural production and household welfare in rural Malawi
Author(s): Moylan, Heather
Advisor(s): Arends-Kuenning, Mary P.
Department / Program: Agr & Consumer Economics
Discipline: Agricultural & Applied Econ
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.S.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): Malawi rainfall agricultural production household welfare
Abstract: This thesis uses Malawi’s Third Integrated Household Survey 2010 – 2011 combined with improved rainfall estimates from a 30-year time series to create an objectively measured drought index. I first estimate the impact of this severe negative rainfall shock, defined as precipitation levels during the reference season of interest more than twenty percent less than the long-run median, on numerous indicators of agricultural production and household welfare. I then examine the extent to which households are able to mitigate the impact of a negative rainfall shock through a variety of plot and household-level characteristics. Findings reveal that households experiencing a severe negative rainfall shock during the wettest quarter of the 2008/2009 or 2009/2010 agricultural seasons, on average, suffered from significantly lower maize yields, values of agricultural output, total per capita consumption expenditures, food expenditures and dietary diversity. Households that planted tobacco as the primary crop, were located in a tropic-cool/semiarid agroecological zone or had access to credit appeared better able to protect their agricultural production and consumption levels from the negative impact of the rainfall shortage.
Issue Date: 2012-09-18
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/34487
Rights Information: Copyright 2012 Heather Moylan
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-09-18
Date Deposited: 2012-08
 

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