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Dynamics of Smallholder Farmers’ Livelihood Adaptation Decision-Making in Central Ethiopia

Dula Etana (), Denyse J. R. M. Snelder (), Cornelia van Wesenbeeck and Tjard de Cock Buning ()
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Dula Etana: College of Development Studies, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 1176 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Denyse J. R. M. Snelder: Centre for International Cooperation, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Tjard de Cock Buning: Athena Institute of Research, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 11, 1-26

Abstract: In previous studies mainly focusing on determinants of adaptation, evidence of the dynamic process of adaptation decision-making is negligible. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of socio-cultural factors, changes in household characteristics, and climate variables on the transition from non-use to use of adaptation strategies. The study integrated primary data collected from households with secondary rainfall and temperature data. The quantitative and qualitative data were analysed using a dynamic random-effects probit model and a thematic approach, respectively. The result shows strong evidence of path dependence in which use of a strategy during the previous year significantly increases its current use. Climate-related risk perception and factual knowledge may not necessarily prompt adaptation action, whereas access to financial resources and farming-related trainings were consistent positive predictors of farmers’ adaptation decisions. The findings entail that economic capacity and the associated intrinsic motivation help few farmers to utilise robust and contesting adaptation strategies. For most households, economic problems and the consequent fatalistic attitude and risk-avoidance behaviour induce either non-use or use of responsive and accommodating strategies aimed at ensuring survival. Path dependence in non-use of adaptation strategies and sub-optimal adaptation actions demand effective institutional supports to address the behavioural and economic barriers of these households in order to build overall community resilience.

Keywords: climate change; perception; value; resilience; path dependence (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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