Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Resource Economics


The Role of Local Level Institutions towards Enhancing Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Ethiopia
Start: 03/2003
End: 12/2005

This research project aimed at investigating households’ livelihood strategies in marginal areas of Ethiopia. It focused on institutional arrangements that prevail in selected study areas which mediate resource entitlements and household capabilities to pave the way towards sustainable livelihoods. The basic hypothesis of this research was based on the assumption that the problems of natural resource degradation and poverty in rural Ethiopia are fundamentally problems of institutional failures (both in terms of inadequately defined property rights and problems of governance) that have constrained the capabilities of rural households to effectively channel their asset (natural, human, physical, financial/economic, social/political capital) endowments towards enhancing sustainable livelihoods. The results were expected to sensitise policy makers and development agents, including NGOs, about the linkage between micro and macro policies, entitlements and sustainability of rural livelihoods. The empirical study employed an innovative approach combining explorative qualitative appraisal methods with survey approaches and the methodology of analytical narratives. This has allowed a thorough analytical assessment of the livelihood assets available to rural households, and of understanding ‘real life games’ around local-level institutions, the involved actors and their strategies. It is these institutional arrangements which shape the livelihood opportunities of rural households. The research project has thus contributed, on the one hand, to deepening the understanding of rural livelihoods in marginal areas and the resulting coping and adaptive strategies of individuals, households and communities, in response to internal and external institutional arrangements. On the other hand, it has contributed to the theoretical and conceptual debates in new institutional economics and the sustainable livelihoods framework.

Researchers: Prof. Dr. Benedikt Korf, Prof. Dr. Ayalneh Bogale

Project Partner: Alemaya University, Ethiopia

Lead Overall Project: Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Konrad Hagedorn

Lead HU Sub-project: Professor Dr. Benedikt Korf

Funding: Joint DFG/BMZ Programme “Research Co-operation with Developing Countries”

Publications and Presentations:


  • Bogale A. and B. Korf (2009). Resource Entitlement and Mobility of Pastoralists in Yerer and Daketa Valleys, Eastern Ethiopia. Human Ecology 37(4): 453-462.
  • Bogale, A. and B. Korf (2007). To share or not to share? (Non-) violence, scarcity and resource access in Somali region, Ethiopia. Journal of Development Studies 43(4): 743 – 765.
  • Bogale, A., K. Hagedorn, and B. Korf (2005). The persistence of poverty in Ethiopia. Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture. 44(2): 101-120.


Conference papers:

  • Bogale, A., Korf, B. and Hagedorn, K. (2006) Peaceful Coexistence? What role for personal wealth and entitlement in conflict mitigation in unfavorable areas of eastern Ethiopia. Contributed paper selected for presentation at the 26th Conference of the International Association of Agricultural Economists, August 12-18, 2006, Gold Coast, Australia.
  • Bogale, A. and B. Korf (2005) An Inquiry into the role of personal wealth in pastoralist-agro-pastoralist conflict resolution in Yerer and Daketa valleys, Ethiopia, Paper presented at the International Conference (ISSER/Cornell/World Bank/DFID/USAID) on “Shared Growth in Africa”, Accra, Ghana, July 21-22.
  • Bogale, A.; K. Hagedorn; B. Korf and F. Beyene (2004) Conflicts, Entitlements, and Natural Resource Management in the Yerer Valley, Ethiopia, Paper presented at Deutschen Tropentag, 5.-7. October, Berlin, Germany.
  • Bogale, A.; K. Hagedorn and B. Korf (2004) Resource Entitlements and Conflict Management in Common Grazing Lands: The case of Yerer and Daketa Valleys, Eastern Ethiopia, Contributed paper prepared for presentation at the 10th Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP), August 9-13, Oaxaca, Mexico.
  • Bogale A., and K. Hagedorn (2003) Poverty Profile and Livelihood Diversification in Rural Ethiopia: Implications to poverty reduction. Paper presented at the International Conference on Ethiopian Economy. January 3 - 6, 2003, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.