Environmental degradation and intra­ household welfare: The case of the Tanzanian rural south Pare highlands

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Wageningen University. Wageningen


The rural South Pare highlands in Tanzania experience a deteriorating environmental situation. The causes of environmental degradation arc population growth, deforestation, poor fanning techniques, and weak forestry regulatory frameworks. Of particular importance is the disappearance of forests and woodlands. The consequences are declining amounts and reliability of rainfall, lower water levels and loss of biodiversity. Deterioration of environmental resources increases the costs of collecting environmental products, which in many respects have no feasible close substitutes. One of the major components of the increased costs is labour time allocated by household members to collecting environmental products and'or grazing activities. This reallocation of intra-houschold labour resources may have different cl Teets on welfare for different members of a household. Degradation of the local environmental resource base is expected to adversely affect women and children more than men. Furthermore, labour time reallocation may interfere with labour allocated to other agricultural activities in the area. In addition, it could drain much of the time children allocate to schooling activities, which may have negative implications for their school attainment and the quality of their human capital in the long ran. Lastly, intra- houschold labour resource reallocation may influence the subjective welfare and well-being of households. This study presents an empirical analysis of these effects. The analysis is based on cross-sectional data collected in 2006/2007 from households in the Tanzania's rural South Pare highlands. The study was guided by four hypotheses each of which formed the basis of an empirical chapter of the thesis. The first empirical chapter is Chapter 3, in which we investigated whether the deteriorating environmental resources had an 'adverse impact ' on intra-household labour allocation. We applied the neo-classical model of an agricultural household. Io analyse how variations in environmental degradation affect intra-household labour allocation, three types of areas were distinguished: severely-degraded, medium-degraded, and non-degraded environments. Since many individuals spent zero hours on some activities, we corrected for selection bias by using Heckman's two-step selection method. The results show that environmental products collection and/or grazing activities in South Pare were gender biased with husbands specializing in grazing while wives and children specialized in fetching water and fuel wood. Secondly, we found that environmental products collection and/or grazing time by the household members was. almost in all groups and in accordance with gender-biased activity, significantly influenced by the environmental conditions. Thirdly, we noticed that if a spouse or a schoolchild had participated in an intra-household activity, his/her time in the work had a significant impact on the time spent by the other spouse in that particular activity, especially in water and fuel wood fetching for household use. In Chapter 4, we analysed whether environmental degradation led to lower agricultural production and household consumption of home-produced meals prepared from staple food crops, namely, maize, beans, millet and paddy. Since the crop outputs weighed differently, we used the monetary value of their yields as a common scale. The amount of food consumed was expressed in calories per person, per day. The basis of the theoretical framework was a neo-classical model of agricultural household production. We estimated the model with two-stage least squares (2SI.S) to control lor the endogeneity of production and consumption within households. The estimation results of the agricultural production equation show that agricultural output was significantly related to consumption of these crops, environmental degradation conditions, total cropped land, fertilizer application, ox-plough use and total extra-income accrued from other sources minus the monetary value of their own-domestic consumption. With regard to the home-produced meals, the results indicate that their consumption is significantly related to the agricultural output, environmental degradation, household income, and household size. In the final analysis, both descriptive and regression results indicate that there are strong possibilities that environmental degradation is limiting the production and consumption potential in the area and that a limited adoption of agricultural modernization further aggravates this problem. In Chapter 5. we examined whether the school attainment of children m rural primary schools, with respect to their gender, was inversely affected by deteriorating environmental resources. The basis of this analysis were the prior results showing that schoolchildren were involved in the work, supporting their households' livelihoods, including housework, farming, collecting scarce environmental products and/or grazing. This type of child labour frequently led to foregone schooling, which may have critical consequences for educational achievements. Since the grade to age school attainment, our dependent variable, is an ordinal variable, which indicates a ranking of school attainment, we used ordered probit estimation techniques. The results show that the probability of educational attainment at primary school, was found to be significantly associated with age. age-squared, and the mother's secondary education. The formal employment status of the mother at government offices significantly, but differently, affected the probability of educational attainment of both schoolgirls and schoolboys separately, but not in the pooled estimates. The household ethnicity, i.e.. belonging to the Sambaa tribe, significantly decreased the probability of schoolgirls to progress at primary school, as compared with other tribes. Interestingly, in the severely-degraded environment as compared with the non-degraded area, the probability that girls would progress at school decreased significantly. However, the environmental degradation situation neither had significant impact for schoolboys in their educational attainment nor for schoolgirls and schoolboys pooled together. Our basic findings further show that there were other factors (like school erowdedness. illness, bud weather, poor school quality, and school absenteeism due to street vending) that affected the probability of school attainment for the schoolchildren apart from the environmental degradation situation. Reasons for this were twofold, l-'irstly. girls and boys spent, on average, the same number of hours per week in school activities across environmental conditions. Secondly, deteriorating resources like environmental products collection and/or grazing, work at home, and work on the farms, each contributed only marginally to total primary school late entry, negatively affecting the girls only. In Chapter 6. we investigated whether the household subjective economic welfare was inversely affected by deteriorating environmental resources. The first objective of this section was Io study the individual welfare function. We applied a lognormal welfare function of income to analyze the income evaluation question (I EQ). The average estimated values of the want parameter of the individual welfare function, denoting the log-income evaluated al 0.5 on the [0.11 welfare scale, were found to be 4.46 for husbands and 4.39 for wives, corresponding with 86,487 and XU.M(J Tanzanian Shillings, respectively. There amounts of income were evaluated as insufficient on average. The evaluated income was well above the official Government minimum wage in 2006 2007 of 75.340 Tanzanian Shillings per month, suggesting that individuals in South Pare needed an income well above the official monthly minimum wage to experience even an insufficient income. The results of the extended model show that, for both husbands and a wives, the individual welfare parameter significantly increased with an increase in household income, use ol scarce environmental products, namely, fuel wood and waler, and household consumption of the survey crops. Ihe want parameter for husbands alone also increased with education, while the want parameter for wives alone also increased with having an occupation. I aking the ceteris paribus condition, the results show that an increase in the use of these scarce environmental products would obviously lead to higher opportunity costs, which, in turn, would increase the want welfare parameter. This suggested that the individual would need higher income through the exponential of the want parameter to maintain the same welfare level. The second objective of the Chapter 6 was to examine subjective well-being. The results of an ordered probit model showed that subjective well-being was negatively influenced by environmental degradation. That is. living in a medium-degraded area, as compared with a non-degraded environment, significantly decreased the husband's well­ being. A w ife perceived lower well-being if she happened to live in a severely-degraded place, while a schoolchild fell unhappy living in either a medium or a severely-degraded environment. I he findings in Chapter 3 already described that environmental degradation influenced the burden of labour (thus affecting well-being) differently to each family member depending on the gender of a person. Furthermore, household income had a significant positive influence on the husband's well-being, while the time he spent on domestic chores and the interaction of household size and income reduced his probability of well-being. The well-being of the wife was significantly non-linear in the effect of age. decreasing after the age of 60.5 years. The results further show that the well-being of a wife was also negatively associated with the time she spent on domestic chores and grazing, thus supporting the findings that women in the area associated many of their health problems with their heavy domestic responsibilities. This study is instrumental in understanding the problems of sustainable development, poverty alleviation, environmental policy and the position of women. Policies designed to preserve the natural resource base (e.g., forestry projects) would be recommended in view of long-run benefits. Short-run strategies would include improving production technologies and persuading household members to grow drought-resistant crops. Lastly, policy makers need to devise overall strategics that would stimulate high economic growth rates in both the medium and long term. The findings of this study may be strengthened by the availability of longitudinal data, to reveal a pattern of change in relation to time. This will need a longer period of research.



Environmental Degradation, Household Welfare, Pare Highlands, Tanzania, Resources