Vaguely Right or Exactly Wrong: Measuring the (Spatial) Distribution of Land Resources, Income and Wealth in Rural Ethiopia
- First, we present evidence of the income gaps for rural Tigray, Ethiopia. Based on survey data, we reveal different income categories and distinguish between their sources of income (labour and capital).
- The second objective is to explore the spatial dimensions of inequality. Survey data are used to reveal correlations between income and access to economic resources. Proximity to natural resources, on the other hand, is based on qualitative accounts of the natural endowments present in the different localities.
- The third objective is to contribute to the broader question of the discrepancy between income and wealth inequalities. For this, we rely on qualitative descriptions of household activities, drawing from wealth ranking workshops and in-depth interviews. Our paper ends with some recommendations for a research and policy agenda.
- We rely on quantitative data from a household survey to describe patterns of income distribution and to distinguish between income from capital and income from labour. The sample is distributed over four geographic localities featuring different productive activities.
- We explore proximity to economic and natural resources as two possible spatial explanations of inequality:
- The effect of proximity to economic resources is studied quantitatively (the household survey entries were linked to GPS coordinates), based on correlations between income and distance to the nearest road, which is used as a proxy for access to economic resources.
- In the absence of resource maps, the effect of proximity to natural resources on the spatial distribution of income is studied qualitatively based on semi-structured interview data.
- Finally, semi-quantitative and qualitative data (from wealth ranking workshops and in-depth interviews, respectively) were collected to reveal patterns of material wealth distribution, and to reflect on possible discrepancies with income distribution statistics.
2.1. Study Sites
- In Kilte Awlaelo woreda: Adi Kisandid tabia (mountainous terrain, little pastoralism, mostly commercial cropping, intensively irrigated, rural road directly connected to a regional highway) and May Quiha tabia (flat terrain, some pastoralism, mostly rainfed agriculture, rural road indirectly connected to a regional highway).
- In Raya Azebo woreda: Were Abaye tabia (mountainous terrain, relatively less pastoralism, mostly commercial cropping, intensively irrigated, rural road directly connected to a regional highway) and Hade Alga (flat terrain, some pastoralism, mostly rainfed agriculture, rural road indirectly connected to a regional highway).
2.2. Income Data Collection and Analysis
- Income from capital, which includes earnings or revenue from:
- non-permanent crop harvest
- trees or permanent crops and/or fruits from the trees
- livestock products
- own business activities
- Income from wages, which includes:
- wages from employment
- transfer (aid) income (Transfer income in rural Tigray is earned through programmes such as food-for-work, cash-for-work, employment generation schemes and employment-based safety nets. The Productive Safety Net Programme, for example, has employed the rural poor in building roads and other infrastructure .)
- remittance income (We assume that the income earned by migrants is mainly from formal and informal wages, and not from capital. This assumption is warranted, considering evidence from Tigray that most migrants earn income illegally  and are therefore unlikely to have been able to invest in capital.)
2.3. Spatial Data Collection and Analysis
2.4. Wealth Data Collection and Analysis
“Wealth is a stock of assets, measured at a point in time, that is, cash in the bank, plus the market value of bonds, corporate shares, land, real estate, and consumer durables as of a given date. Income is the flow of earnings from these assets, plus the earnings of your own labour power (or human capital), between two dates, that is, over a period of time... Income and wealth are thus two different magnitudes, measured in different units, and distributed differently over the population”. (p. 304)
- What are the sources of wealth in this tabia? (e.g., agriculture, business, etc.)
- What are the wealth indicators that tell households apart? (e.g., livestock, dwelling, etc.)
- How many wealth groups do you perceive? (e.g., extremely poor, middle class, etc.)
- Per indicator, how does one wealth group compare to the others? (e.g., four oxen for the rich)
- Finally, how large is each wealth group (number of households) in this tabia?
3.1. Income Distribution Patterns
3.2. Spatial Distribution Patterns
3.2.1. Proximity to Economic Resources
3.2.2. Proximity to Natural Resources
3.3. Wealth Distribution Patterns
5. Conclusions and Recommendations
5.1. Policy Recommendations
5.2. Research Recommendations
“[M]oney incomes do not include a farmer’s consumption of his own product or a wife’s domestic duties, and even if we can estimate the money value of these, the question remains whether services of a mother to her child are economic and are to be appraised at the same money value as those of a wet-nurse. Then it is necessary to ‘go behind’ the money valuation and consider ‘real’ income as distinct from money income”. (p. 248)
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|Wealth Category||N||Average Income (birr)||Average Income (USD)|
|Quantile||N||Average Income (birr) 1||Average Income (USD) 2||1a. Non-Permanent Crops||1b. Permanent Crops||1c. Livestock Products||1d. Business||2a. Wages||2b. Transfer||2c. Remittance|
|Wealth Category||N||Average Income||Fraction Income from Capital||Fraction of Income from Wages|
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Rammelt, C.F.; Van Schie, M.; Tegabu, F.N.; Leung, M. Vaguely Right or Exactly Wrong: Measuring the (Spatial) Distribution of Land Resources, Income and Wealth in Rural Ethiopia. Sustainability 2017, 9, 962. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9060962
Rammelt CF, Van Schie M, Tegabu FN, Leung M. Vaguely Right or Exactly Wrong: Measuring the (Spatial) Distribution of Land Resources, Income and Wealth in Rural Ethiopia. Sustainability. 2017; 9(6):962. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9060962Chicago/Turabian Style
Rammelt, Crelis F., Maarten Van Schie, Fredu Nega Tegabu, and Maggi Leung. 2017. "Vaguely Right or Exactly Wrong: Measuring the (Spatial) Distribution of Land Resources, Income and Wealth in Rural Ethiopia" Sustainability 9, no. 6: 962. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9060962