Gender differentiated asset dynamics in Northern Nigeria
This paper examines gender differentiated asset dynamics over a 20 year period (1988-2008) in Northern Nigeria. The paper first examines the state of the literature on poverty dynamics, especially with respect to gender differences and agriculture. We then present new evidence to investigate whether there has been a catch-up effect for women in agricultural households who had initially low assets in 1988 and whether asset inequality within households is predicted by initial assets. The household survey conducted in Kaduna State, Nigeria tracked individuals from 200 households originally surveyed in 1988 to their households in 2008, a total of 576 additional households owing to splits. Household-level assets such as livestock holdings and household capital capture different dimensions of the household’s portfolio of wealth, including gender differentiated shares of assets such as livestock and household capital. The analysis finds that women’s assets grow more slowly than men’s assets over a long time horizon. The mechanism through which differential asset stocks grew over the twenty year period is related to the relative prices of the assets in the gender differentiated portfolio. Men, who primarily held livestock, benefited from large price increases in livestock. Women’s assets, which were primarily held as goods, both durables and jewellery, had much smaller price increases. The increased price of livestock may have been driven by the expansion of cultivated land in the villages, which increased demand for bullocks to plough. We find some suggestive evidence that these price fluctuations reinforced gender asset inequality within households for both types of assets considered.
Q12, O13, J16, D9
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