Human Ecology

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 171–197 | Cite as

Individual and Collective Rationality in Pastoral Production: Evidence From Northern Kenya



This study explores the individual and collective rationality of livestock accumulation in pastoral production using data gathered in northern Kenya. Results suggest accumulating wealth in livestock even when facing the prospect of sudden dramatic loss makes sense at the household level, and that there is limited empirical support to the contention that herd accumulation at the household level imposes a cost on other households. I conclude by arguing the record of failure in pastoral development may be at least partially due to a faulty conceptual foundation, and suggest facilitating herd accumulation may offer more promise than discouraging it.


herd accumulation risk management negative externalities common property pastoralism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Public Administration and Economics, 336 Eggers HallSyracuse UniversitySyracuse

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