Institution: North Carolina State University, USA
Mitch Renkow is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at North Carolina State University, and an Affiliate Scientist in the Economics Program at CIMMYT. He holds a Bachelors degree in Resource Economics from UC Berkeley, a Masters degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D in Agricultural Economics from NC State University. Prior to joining the faculty of NC State in 1991, he served as a Rockefeller Foundation Social Science Fellow at CIMMYT from 1988 to 1990. He has conducted extensive research on the welfare effects of technological change.
Title: "Poverty, productivity, and production environment: A review of the evidence"
Theme: Key 3
A long-standing debate within the CGIAR system revolves around the effects on various populations (particularly the poor) of different allocations of research effort between marginal and favored production environments. Some argue that there has been systematic under-investment in marginal production environments __ to the detriment of the large group of impoverished people within those areas. Others counter that investment in marginal areas historically has been low precisely because the returns to those investments are low, and that diverting research resources away from favored production environments would do more harm than good overall.
In this paper I will review the state of knowledge about the key issues that need to be understood in order to satisfactorily resolve this debate. Specifically, I will focus on what is known about (a) the geographical distribution of the poor (in favored, marginal, and urban locations); (b) variations in the income-generating activities including nonagricultural activities engaged in by the poor; (c) the ways in which specific technology packages affect the economic well-being of different types of households; and (d) the evidence on dynamic linkages between resource degradation and agricultural productivity and the implications of those linkages for the incidence of rural poverty.