The European Journal of Development Research

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 569–597 | Cite as

Rural Household Access to Assets and Markets: A Cross-Country Comparison

  • Alberto Zezza
  • Paul Winters
  • Benjamin Davis
  • Gero Carletto
  • Katia Covarrubias
  • Luca Tasciotti
  • Esteban Quiñones
Original Article


The sluggish supply response in most developing countries to the apparently favourable agricultural market situation of the past few years can be explained by the limited ability of price incentives to bring about an increase in production and marketed surplus in the presence of binding non-price constraints. This article characterises farm household heterogeneity in access to assets, markets and infrastructure drawing on household survey data from 15 developing countries. We relate this heterogeneity in access to household ability to engage successfully in agricultural output markets and find consistent supporting evidence for the hypothesis that this lack of access is significantly constraining their potential to engage successfully in agriculture.

Dans la plupart des pays en développement, la réaction de l′offre à la situation des marchés agricoles – depuis quelques années favorable – est lente, et ce en raison de la capacité limitée des incitations en termes de prix à générer une augmentation de la production et des excédents commercialisés, en présence d′importantes contraintes non tarifaires. S′appuyant sur des données d′enquêtes sur les ménages recueillies dans 15 pays en développement, cet article décrit l′hétérogénéité des ménages agricoles en matière d′accès aux actifs, marchés et infrastructures. Nous montrons la relation qui existe entre cette hétérogénéité et la capacité des ménages à s′engager avec succès sur les marchés de produits agricoles, et trouvons des preuves solides soutenant l′hypothèse selon laquelle ce manque d′accès limite fortement leur potentiel à s′engager dans l′agriculture de manière profitable.


agriculture markets inputs assets subsistence farming smallholders 



The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the institutions with which they are affiliated. The excellent support of Genny Bonomi, Stefania Di Giuseppe and Takis Karfakis is gratefully acknowledged. We would like to thank Kostas Stamoulis, Karen Macours, Alain de Janvry, Elisabeth Sadoulet, Derek Byerlee, Ugo Pica Ciamarra and Gustavo Anriquez for constructive suggestions on the analysis of the data. We would also like to thank participants in the 2007 Agricultural Economics Society meetings in Reading and the 106th seminar of the European Association of Agricultural Economists for comments and discussion.


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Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberto Zezza
    • 1
  • Paul Winters
    • 2
  • Benjamin Davis
    • 3
  • Gero Carletto
    • 4
  • Katia Covarrubias
    • 3
  • Luca Tasciotti
    • 5
  • Esteban Quiñones
    • 6
  1. 1.World BankRome
  2. 2.American UniversityWashington
  3. 3.FAORome
  4. 4.World BankWashington
  5. 5.ISSThe Hague
  6. 6.IFPRIWashington

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