Labour displacement in agriculture: Evidence from oil palm expansion in Indonesia

Authors: Christoph Kubitza, Vijesh V. Krishna, Stephan Klasen, Thomas Kopp, Nunung Nuryartono and Matin Qaim
Published: 2024
Source: Land Economics

This research by Land Matrix partner GIGA analyses the labour market effects of oil palm cultivation among smallholder farmers in Indonesia. Oil palm requires less labour per unit of land than alternative crops, especially less female labour. Micro-level data and nationally-representative regency-level data show that oil palm adoption, on average, led to an expansion of total cropland at the expense of forestland, resulting in higher agricultural labour demand for men. At the same time, women’s employment rates declined due to a substantial decrease in agricultural family labour, which was most evident in regions with high initial land scarcity and thus limited options for cropland expansion.

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