Investigating the gender gap in agricultural productivity: evidence from Uganda

Type Working Paper - World Bank Policy Research Working Paper
Title Investigating the gender gap in agricultural productivity: evidence from Uganda
Issue 7262
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Women comprise 50 percent of the agricultural labor force
in Sub-Saharan Africa, but manage plots that are reportedly
on average 20 to 30 percent less productive. As a source
of income inequality and aggregate productivity loss, the
country-specific magnitude and drivers of this gender gap
are of great interest. Using national data from the Uganda
National Panel Survey for 2009/10 and 2010/11, the gap
before controlling for endowments was estimated to be 17.5
percent. Panel data methods were combined with an Oaxaca
decomposition to investigate the gender differences in
resource endowment and return to endowment driving this
gap. Although men have greater access to inputs, input use
is so low and inverse returns to plot size so strong in Uganda
that smaller female-managed plots have a net endowment
advantage of 12 percent, revealing a larger unexplained gap
of 29.5 percent. Two-fifths of this unexplained gap is attributed
to differential returns to the child dependency ratio and
one-fifth to differential returns to transport access, implying
that greater child care responsibilities and difficulty accessing
input and output markets from areas without transport
are the largest drivers of the gap. Smaller and less robust
drivers include differential uptake of cash crops, and differential
uptake and return to improved seeds and pesticides.

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