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Title:Navigating through times of scarcity: the intensification of a gift-giving economy after dollarization in rural Zimbabwe
Authors:Wout, Merel van 't
Dekker, MarleenISNI
Year:2014
Issue:115
Pages:25
Language:English
Series:ASC working paper
City of publisher:Leiden
Publisher:African Studies Centre
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:small farms
household expenditure
money
External link:https://hdl.handle.net/1887/28839
Abstract:This report explores financial strategies used by smallholder farmers in the face of the challenging conditions following the economic crisis in the early 2000s in Zimbabwe. It considers the sources, circulation and importance of cash among farmers in the cash-scarce society that emerged with hyperinflation and subsequent dollarization and that rendered farmers' savings worthless. The article is based on transaction diaries from 20 farmers in two different rural communities in Zimbabwe. These diaries provided details of expenditures in a three-week period in November/December 2010 and intend to provide insight into the day-to-day realities that affects many in Zimbabwe. These diaries show the very limited inflow of cash and that many households did not have any cash at their disposal. Contrary to other sources, our data suggest that the importance of remittances in these villages is far less than expected. Furthermore, in contrast with standard economic thinking, farmers rarely reverted to 'instantaneous barter'. Instead, the shortage of cash resulted in an intensification of gift-giving in kind in which small gifts were exchanged between family members, neighbours and other close relations and that were especially important to meet daily household needs of farmers and their families. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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