The paper is published as a New Journal Paper and can be downloaded here.
Abstract of the paper
The scarcity of land for crop and livestock production is critical in countries with growing populations. The idea that increasing population density leads to natural resource depletion and economic failure, as predicted by Malthus, or rather to farm intensification, as hypothesized by Boserup, motivates this research. This paper examines how high population pressure in northern Ethiopia influences smallholders’ farm intensification by applying recursive estimation with a control function approach using data from 518 randomly selected farmers.
Although our empirical results are more in favor of the Boserupian hypothesis, the findings also reveal that both Malthusian and Boserupian forces co‐exist. Consistent with Malthus theory, high population pressure is found to be associated with small farm size and herd size. Population pressure affected both technology use (breed cow, stall feeding, and modern cattle feed) and output supply (milk yield, milk income, and straw output). As predicted by Boserup's theory, the use of modern input and output supply initially increase with increasing population pressure but decline again when population densities pass a critical threshold (800 persons/km²), supporting Malthus’ hypothesis. The estimation results also revealed that both milk and straw supply responded positively to prices. Free grazing and stall feeding are found to be complementary activities. Likewise, crop farm income and off‐farm job have a non‐linear relation with population pressure, implying that both initially increase and then decrease with rising population pressure.