Understanding market-based livelihoods in a globalising world: Combining approaches and methods

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London, UK: International Institute for the Environment and Development

This paper compares and contrasts the sustainable livelihoods framework and value chain analysis approaches to researching producer to market linkages in developing nations. This review of contemporary methodology and research reveals that both methods offer major strengths and weaknesses. Whereas the sustainable livelihoods framework may offer a contextualized picture of the producer community and identify potential means for improving livelihoods, it has difficulty quantifying such findings to make a strong case for the differences that may be achieved. Contrastingly, value chain analysis has trouble creating a comprehensive picture of market interaction and often requires data not available, risking an inaccurate result. The final product does however, offer statistical explanation of how wealth is generated and often unevenly distributed in the chain, making a stronger case for policy changes. Finding such complementary strengths and weaknesses, the paper advocates combining qualitative and quantitative methods as well as social science and economic analysis to produce more effective research overall.

Globalization, Marketing and trade, Local markets, Economic policy, International trade, Livelihoods, Common markets, Markets, Vulnerability and risk, Economic statistics and indicators, Qualitative research methods, Quantitative research methods, Sustainable livelihoods framework, Value chain analysis, Producers, Farm/Enterprise Scale Governance