Non-farm and off-farm employment in rural Peru: the wealth of the poor?

Phelinas, P.

Economie Rurale 282: 40-58

2004


Accession: 004250212

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Abstract
This article analyses the structure of non-farm and off-farm employment in rural Peru and its impact on the level and structure of farm households' income. Data used come from a field survey encompassing 300 farm households distributed among three provinces of Peru located in varied natural and economic environments. It is shown that agriculture has a weak labour absorption capacity and that non-farm and off-farm employment represent a significant share of the workers' total productive time as well as the farm households' income. Non-farm and off-farm employment have an overall negative impact on the distribution of income because the lowest paid jobs are occupied by the workers belonging to the poorest groups. Non-farm and off-farm jobs tend to strengthen the regional income disparities because they are more widespread in accessible rural areas that are well-endowed with basic public infrastructure. These jobs however contribute to improve the standard of living of the poorest, even modestly.