Agricultural Decision Making - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780120788828, 9781483268415

Agricultural Decision Making

1st Edition

Anthropological Contributions to Rural Development

Editors: Peggy F. Barlett
eBook ISBN: 9781483268415
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 24th October 1984
Page Count: 395
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Agricultural Decision Making: Anthropological Contributions to Rural Development presents the impact of farmers' choices in agricultural production. This book discusses how individual decisions determine household profits and well-being, capital requirements, land use, and the adoption of technology.

Organized into three parts encompassing 14 chapters, this book begins with an overview of the theoretical and methodological questions concerning the use of formal models in evaluating the alternatives open to farmers. This text then explores the patterns of agricultural choices within one rural community. Other chapters consider the implications of decision-making research for agricultural development policy and explore the decision-making context of aid programs. This book discusses as well the impacts of nonagricultural alternatives on agricultural decisions. The final chapter deals with various policy and development programs for agricultural development.

This book is a valuable resource for economic anthropologists, historians, economists, agricultural economists, rural sociologists, psychologists, farmers, and research workers.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors


Chapter 1 Introduction: Development Issues and Economic Anthropology

Anthropology and the World Food Crisis

Overview of the Volume

Some Issues and a New Role for Agriculture

The Historical Perspective on Intensification and Development

Economic Anthropology and Research Perspectives

Issues in Agricultural Decision Research


Part I Theoretical Issues and Methodological Perspectives

Chapter 2 The Limits of Formalism in Agricultural Decision Research

Predicting Observed Outcomes from Formal Models in Economic Anthropology

The Irreducible Need for Ethnography: Political Considerations



Chapter 3 A Theory of Real-Life Choice: Applications to Agricultural Decisions


Outline of the Theory


Stage 1

Stage 2

Decision Trees



Chapter 4 The Statistical Behavior Approach: The Choice Between Wage Labor and Cash Cropping in Rural Belize

Studying Economic Choice

Economic Conditions in Rural Belize

Research Sites

The Costs of Living in the Two Villages

The Choice between Wage Labor and Cash Cropping

Statistical Analysis

Ethnographic Interpretation

Practical Implications

Advantages and Limitations of Statistical Analysis

Appendix: Statistical Methods


Chapter 5 The AttentivePreattentive Distinction in Agricultural Decision Making


Definition of Preattentive Processes and Some Agricultural Examples

Stage 1 and "Ethnoagronomy"

Preattentive Assumptions Made by Farmers and Agronomists; Resulting Difficulties in Communication and Innovation

Evaluation of New Agricultural Technology



Chapter 6 CostBenefit Analysis: A Test of Alternative Methodologies

Research Goals

Traditional Economic Analysis

Chayanov's Theory of Agricultural Decisions

Distinctive Characteristics of the Family Farm

The Family Cycle and Agricultural Decisions

Profit Calculations and Returns to Labor

Possible Distortions in the Traditional Economic Calculations

Returns to LaborSmaller Farms

Returns to LaborBigger Families

Qualitative Costs and Benefits



Chapter 7 Risk and Uncertainty in Agricultural Decision Making

Normative Economics: Decision Making without Distinguishing Risk and Uncertainty

Decision Making under Uncertainty: Predicting Behavior

Data and Tests



Chapter 8 Forecasts, Decisions, and the Farmer's Response to Uncertain Environments


The Processing of Information

The Formulation of Expectations

Expectations and the Farmer's Response to Uncertain Environments



Chapter 9 Management Style: A Concept and a Method for the Analysis of Family-Operated Agricultural Enterprise


The Concept of Management Style

The Folk Categories of Management Style

Criteria for Management Style and the Making of a Scale

Social Causes and Correlates of Management Style: A Summary


Part II Patterns of Agricultural Decisions

Chapter 10 Agricultural Business Choices in a Mexican Village

Cuanajo and Its History of Business Complexity

The Business Opportunity Map of Cuanajo

Returns on Investments in Cuanajo's Businesses

Business Entry Decisions

Agricultural Business Combinations

Choices of Agricultural Businesses



Chapter 11 Agrarian Reform and Economic Development: When Is a Landlord a Client and a Sharecropper His Patron?


Mexico's Ejido System


Factor Shares by Economic Analysis

Discussion of the Sharecropping System

Effects of the Sharecropping System

Summary and Conclusion


Chapter 12 Stratification and Decision Making in the Use of New Agricultural Technology


Model 1The Homogeneity Model

Model 2The Linear Model

Model 3The Middle-Class Conservatism Model

Model 4The Modified Middle-Class Conservatism Model

Historical and Ethnographic Background

Wealth Homogeneity or Heterogeneity?

Wealth and Adoption of New TechnologyChemical Fertilizer

Economics of Corn Production

The Economics of Pradera Production

Wealth and Pradera Adoption in 1977

Summary and Conclusions


Part III Agricultural Development Policy and Programs

Chapter 13 Decision Making and Policymaking in Rural Development

Do Attitudes Make a Difference?

Poor Farmers Profit When They Can

Rural Poverty as Social Process

Policy Implications


Chapter 14 Agricultural Decision Making in Foreign Assistance: An Anthropological Analysis


The Ideological Setting

The Organizational Setting

The Decision-Making Process

The Challenge of the New Directions Congressional Mandate


Subject Index


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© Academic Press 1980
Academic Press
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About the Editor

Peggy F. Barlett

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