Agricultural Decision Making

Agricultural Decision Making

Anthropological Contributions to Rural Development

1st Edition - October 24, 1984

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  • Editor: Peggy F. Barlett
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483268415

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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 Attentive�Preattentive 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 Cost�Benefit 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 Labor�Smaller Farms

    Returns to Labor�Bigger 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 1�The Homogeneity Model

    Model 2�The Linear Model

    Model 3�The Middle-Class Conservatism Model

    Model 4�The Modified Middle-Class Conservatism Model

    Historical and Ethnographic Background

    Wealth Homogeneity or Heterogeneity?

    Wealth and Adoption of New Technology�Chemical 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

Product details

  • No. of pages: 395
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1984
  • Published: October 24, 1984
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483268415

About the Editor

Peggy F. Barlett

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