This study shows that households, where partners make decisions together, adopt more climate-smart strategies, have a higher yield, and have better household outcomes, compared to households with one decision-maker.
In this uncertain era of climate change, any strategy that can increase farm yield in resource-poor, rain-fed, agriculture-dependent regions, like sub-Saharan Africa, should be explored. Our study takes place in Namibia, a typical sub-Saharan African country exhibiting dry and vulnerable characteristics. Our estimation strategy is robust to selection bias caused by unobserved systematic differences and further validated by robustness tests to estimate the impact of joint decision-making on farm productivity and household outcomes. The results show that households where the head makes decisions with their partner, i.e., engage in joint decision-making: (i) adopt more climate-smart strategies, (ii) have a higher yield, and (iii) have better household outcomes, in comparison to households with sole decision-making. From a policy perspective, our results show the importance of engaging both women and men in household decision-making as a way of increasing resilience to climate change. This goes far beyond the simple disaggregation of male- and female-headed households, which is the traditional approach to studying gender distinctions in livelihood activities.
Keywords: joint decision-making; smallholder farms; climate-smart agriculture; dryland Namibia