Emily Schmidt

Rural Youth and Employment in Ethiopia

"This paper examines labor diversification in Ethiopia, focusing on youth, and explores current conditions that youth face in both the agricultural and non-farm labor markets. Using data from the Ethiopia Socioeconomic Survey (ESS) and the National Labor Force Survey (NLFS), we explore current trends in labor diversification, along with youth non-farm engagement in rural and small towns. We find that youth (ages 25 to 34 years) have a greater probability of working in nonfarm enterprises compared to mature individuals (age 35-64). However, wage labor opportunities remain scant in rural Ethiopia. The majority of individuals working in non-farm employment are engaged in small-scale trade activities. Our analysis suggests that push factors are at play with regards to non-farm diversification, whereby those that live in less favorable agricultural potential areas with fewer assets, such as livestock, and less access to agricultural credit are more likely to seek off-farm work. While this research provides evidence that selected youth are engaged in off-farm labor opportunities, however, a low proportion of the rural population, including youth, has diversified into other activities outside of agriculture. Low demand for higher-skilled labor remains a major obstacle to achieving structural transformation in Ethiopia in the near to medium term."

Spatial Analysis of Livestock Production Patterns in Ethiopia

"The livestock sector is a large contributor to the Ethiopian economy as well as a mainstay in the livelihoods of many Ethiopians. It comprised 11 percent of national GDP and 24 percent of agricultural GDP between the years of 1995/96 and 2005/06 (NBE 2005/06). Livestock production and markets vary substantially across space in Ethiopia due to a variety of reasons including topographical variations, market access, water availability, and population characteristics. This study links smallholder livestock population data from the Agricultural Census (2001/02) and data from the annual CSA Agricultural Sample Survey (2005 to 2008) with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data in order to assess livestock population, market access, and grazing land. We utilize existing studies of travel time (Schmidt and Kedir 2009) to calculate shares of livestock (cattle, sheep and goat) populations within defined travel time thresholds of major markets. In addition, we attempt to provide greater insight of changes in available grazing land given increasing human and livestock population pressure."

Household and Plot Level Impact of Sustainable Land and Watershed Management (SLWM) Practices in the Blue Nile

"Land degradation and water shortages are major issues in developing countries, contributing to reduced economic output, lower growth potential and increased poverty. The immediate trade-off between short-term welfare and long-term agricultural development in the highland regions of Ethiopia represents a challenge to successful economic development in a predominantly agricultural-based economy. Although previous studies investigated country-level economic costs of sustainable land and watershed management (SLWM) in Ethiopia, few quantitative assessments of household level SLWM adoption and maintenance, linked to benefit payoff horizons and magnitude, exist in recent literature. Finally, we briefly discuss the benefits and costs of implementing SLWM for individual farmers and calculate an approximate net present value of investing in such infrastructure. We find that although value of production increases given these investments, the benefit may not always outweigh the costs of implementation, and policy measures to incentivize construction and maintenance may be needed."

Urbanization and Spatial Connectivity in Ethiopia: Urban Growth Analysis Using GIS

"In comparison to other African countries, Ethiopia has a low urbanization rate. According to the World Bank World Development Report (WDR) 2009, Sub-Sahara Africa is 30% urbanized, whereas Ethiopia is only 10.9% urbanized. Urbanization rates differ according to methodologies and data base utilized: the United Nations classifies Ethiopia as 14.9% urban, while the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia reports a 16% urbanization rate. In an effort to standardize and measure Ethiopian urbanization over time, we use the WDR agglomeration index methodology which incorporates a series of GIS data and analyses including: travel time rasters, population density (namely GRUMP and LandScan gridded population), and other nationally collected biophysical and infrastructure variables. We spatially allocate urban versus non-urban areas by creating specific thresholds following two criteria whereby locations are categorized as urban if populations have: a population density greater than 150 people per km2; and are located within 1 hour travel time from a city of at least 50,000 people. Utilizing road and population data from different years between 1984 and 2006, we are able to model growth in urbanization and reductions in remoteness over time. Using the agglomeration index methodology, we find that the overall share of urban population increased from 3.7 percent in 1984 to 14.2 percent in 2007. The results indicate substantial improvements in travel time between urban centers over the past two decades, though a large share of the population still resides more than 10 hours travel time from an urban center."