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Non-farm Employment and Poverty Reduction in Mauritania

Emploi non agricole et réduction de la pauvreté en Mauritanie

Mamoudou Ba () and Mazhar Mughal ()
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Mamoudou Ba: CATT - Centre d'Analyse Théorique et de Traitement des données économiques - UPPA - Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour

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Abstract: Agriculture is the main source of income, food and employment for a majority of the population in Mauritania. Due to the high variability of rainfall and the decline in irrigated land, many people living in rural Mauritania continue to face economic hardship, pushing more and more agricultural workers into non-agricultural activities. This study examines the effect of non-agricultural worker participation on poverty reduction in rural Mauritania. We used data from the 2014 EPCV survey and applied empirical techniques of probit, propensity score matching (PSM) and inverse probability weighting (IPW) to control potential selection bias. We tested the relationship with off-farm labour activity in terms of incidence as well as intensity and severity of poverty. The results show that the probability of being poor is 5.9% lower among households that have at least one member participating in non-farm activities compared to those only associated with the agriculture sector. Participation in non-farm activities indicates a reduction in the intensity and severity of poverty by 3.6% and 1.9%, respectively. These results are robust to the variable definitions and econometric methods used. We found that surplus-labour released by the agriculture sector is absorbed in the non-farm economy. Income generation through diversification into non-farm activities seems to be an effective way to reduce poverty in rural areas.

Date: 2021-09-21
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