Rural differentiation and rural change: Microlevel evidence from Kenya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigates how smallholder differentiation can be reconciled with processes of rural development. Conventional theories and policies are primarily based on assumptions of an undifferentiated smallholder sector. Conversely, some agrarian political economy scholars argue that smallholder differentiation may be correlated with dynamic rural development. To contribute to the debate, rural households in this study are stratified into income classes, and accumulation patterns among each income class are examined. The analysis shows that smallholder differentiation does not coincide with dynamic rural development. Instead of accumulating wealth through farming, richer households have diversified to better paid employment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-775
JournalJournal of Agrarian Change
Issue number4
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Economics

Free keywords

  • inequality
  • Kenya
  • rural Africa
  • rural differentiation


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