Understanding Declining Mobility and Interhousehold Transfers among East African Pastoralists

36 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2008

See all articles by Marieke Huysentruyt

Marieke Huysentruyt

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD)

Christopher B. Barrett

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management

John G. McPeak

Syracuse University - Department of Economics

Abstract

We model interhousehold transfers between nomadic livestock herders as the state-dependent consequence of individuals' strategic interdependence resulting from the existence of multiple, opposing externalities. A public good security externality among individuals sharing a social (e.g., ethnic) identity in a potentially hostile environment creates incentives to band together. Self-interested interhousehold wealth transfers from wealthier herders to poorer ones may emerge endogenously within a limited wealth space as a means to motivate accompanying migration by the recipient. The distributional reach and size of the transfer are limited, however, by a resource appropriation externality related to the use of common property grazing lands. When this effect dominates, it can induce transfers from households who want to relieve grazing pressures caused by others' herds. Our model augments the extant literature on transfers, and is perhaps more consistent with the limited available empirical evidence on heterogeneous and changing transfers - patterns among east African pastoralists. The core principles of our model possibly apply more broadly, for example to long-distance migrants or even among "foot soldiers" in street gangs.

Keywords: Interhousehold transfers, migration, externalities, poverty traps

JEL Classification: D62, O13, O15, O12, Q2

Suggested Citation

Huysentruyt, Marieke E/Els and Barrett, Christopher B. and McPeak, John G., Understanding Declining Mobility and Interhousehold Transfers among East African Pastoralists. Economia, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1142511

Marieke E/Els Huysentruyt

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 (0)20 7955 6727 (Phone)
+44 (0)20 7955 6951 (Fax)

Christopher B. Barrett (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management ( email )

315 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7801
United States
607-255-4489 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://aem.cornell.edu/faculty_sites/cbb2/

John G. McPeak

Syracuse University - Department of Economics ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13244-1020
United States

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