Household demographic characteristics, consumption pressure, labor utilization, and land use among settler households on the northeastern Ecuadorian Amazon frontier

Catherine Mary Marquette, Fordham University

Abstract

A representative sample of 413 settler households in the Northeastern Ecuadorian Amazon is used to examine the relationships between household demographic characteristics (household lifecycle, type, age and sex structure), consumption pressure, labor utilization, and forest clearing. The conceptual framework, based on Chayanovian, neo-Marxist, and sociodemographic theory, presumes household demographic characteristics affect land use via labor utilization alongside non-demographic factors. The majority of households (58.8%) considered were nuclear households and a third (35.8%) were extended households.^ Households clear most during early lifecycle stages. Cleared areas are similar between nuclear and extended households at early (and subsequent) lifecycle stages despite the larger labor capacity of the latter. This relates to the finding that nuclear households use more of their smaller labor capacity at early lifecycle stages while extended households use less of their larger labor capacity. Higher consumption pressure (ratio of consumption needs to labor capacity) among nuclear households helps explain why they make more use of their smaller labor capacity at early lifecycle stages.^ At later lifecycle stages, consumption pressure declines and has less important effects on labor utilization and land use among nuclear households while non-demographic factors (duration of plot settlement, plot size, distance from roads and town, hilliness of the plot, input use) are more important. Non-demographic factors not accounted for in the analysis may also affect labor utilization and land use among nuclear and extended households (higher aspirations and factors limiting on and off-farm labor absorption, respectively).^ Labor strategies and the composition of cleared areas differ by household type. Nuclear households rely more on off-farm employment at early lifecycle stages, despite lower labor capacity, while extended households diversify into off-farm employment only at later stages as labor capacity increases. Pasture (labor saving) plays a more important role than cultivated area (labor intensive) among nuclear and equal roles among extended households.^ Recommendations for the future analysis of socioeconomic differentiation between households, the collection of longitudinal information, the encouragement of intensive agricultural methods among younger and recently settled households, and cooperative formation are made based on the study results. ^

Subject Area

Economics, Agricultural|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies|Sociology, Demography

Recommended Citation

Catherine Mary Marquette, "Household demographic characteristics, consumption pressure, labor utilization, and land use among settler households on the northeastern Ecuadorian Amazon frontier" (January 1, 1995). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9542374.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9542374

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