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Title:Institutions and social-ecological synergies in Indian agriculture
Author(s):Ramprasad, Vijay
Director of Research:Chhatre, Ashwini
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Chhatre, Ashwini
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Ribot, Jesse; Taylor-Lovell, Sarah; Agrawal, Arun
Department / Program:Geography & Geographic InfoSci
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Rainfed agriculture
Social-ecological systems
Abstract:This dissertation advances theoretical and empirical knowledge on an ongoing challenge throughout the developing world: synergizing livelihood enhancement and agro-ecological sustainability. Systematic knowledge of synergies and causal pathways through which they are generated remains limited. This study addresses this gap by examining the role of institutions as drivers of synergies and tradeoffs between social and ecological outcomes in rainfed agriculture. Using a mix of qualitative and quantitative evidence collected over sixteen months of fieldwork among 212 smallholder households in six villages and over sixty institutions in Telangana, India, I examine the influence of five institutional pathways on livelihood and landholding effects. I find that the pathways generally improved livelihood and landholding conditions. However, these improvements are unevenly distributed even among marginalized social groups. National level policies strongly affect livelihoods and agro-ecological conditions. However, failure to adequately acknowledge the processes by which target groups access benefits led to social and power relations threatening effective benefit delivery. Civic institutions play supporting roles by filling voids left by public interventions and channel benefits to their constituency. Findings show that indebtedness to formal and informal institutions shape vulnerability of smallholders by moderating livelihood strategies and agricultural practices. Scholars and policy makers interested in institutional dimensions of agriculture must attended more carefully to the complexity in local-level institutions, examine non-linear relationships between institutions and social-ecological outcomes and associated political arenas to better design interventions.
Issue Date:2017-07-12
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Vijay Ramprasad
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-03-02
Date Deposited:2017-08

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