Hope might seem like the business of philosophers and motivational speakers. But economists, too, are exploring the power of aspirations.
More than 800 million people in the world live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.90 a day. Interventions usually focus on providing tangible resources, such as access to clean water, nutrition, health care, education and a viable income.
But new research from economists in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences highlights a psychological asset that could be equally important: hope.
Statewide Survey by Farm Bureau and UC Davis Finds Farmers Turning to Labor-Saving Crops
Despite raising wages and increasing benefits, California farmers are failing to find enough people to pick fruits and vegetables and harvest other crops, and they are offsetting this labor shortage by changing to less labor-intensive crops and adding automation. Moreover, farmers are calling on Congress to enact agricultural workforce reform that would allow immigrants to work as guest workers legally in order to help them grow food.
For decades, farmers in the United States have depended on people from foreign countries—mostly Mexico—to work in the fields. Only 2 percent of California’s farmworkers were born in the U.S.
But Mexico is changing. Fertility rates are falling, rural education is rising, and fewer young people have the need or interest to come to America to pick crops. California’s farm-labor supply from Mexico has been decreasing for several years. New data from a long-term study by UC Davis researchers suggests that supply will soon disappear.
During the months that Jonathan Malacarne spent traveling from village to village in rural Mozambique, the weather could be dry and dusty or soaking wet from heavy rain. Either way, people from the community would walk and ride bikes from miles away to meet under the shade of a tree or in a classroom to learn about insured maize seeds.
High-quality agricultural index insurance has shown promise in promoting resilience among small-scale farmers who face a constant risk of drought and other weather-related shocks. However, despite decades of investments this tool has yet to achieve its broadest impact in part because of low-quality contracts that don’t reliably pay farmers for losses and that sometimes pay when there are none.