«A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy Approved November 2014 by the Graduate ...»
development through transitions is energy transition. It is the transition from the use of traditional energy sources, such as fuel wood, to modern ones, such as electricity. In the big picture, energy transition has environmental impacts in that the demand for energy will exponentially increase as a society develops with increasing numbers of population and households (Knight and Rosa 2012). Thus, to meet or reduce energy demand, or to be prepared for the surge of energy demand in the future, understanding energy transition at the household level would be an important first step towards sustainability.
Accordingly, the focal point of this dissertation is on agricultural and energy transitions. I find the framework of livelihood approach relevant to explain these two transitions associated with sustainability issues. The livelihood approach is about how a household utilizes household assets in terms of five capitals: human, natural, physical, financial, and social (Ellis 2000). This perspective is useful to categorize a variety of household assets in five ideal types of capitals, and each capital is expected to have distinct effects on agricultural and energy transitions. Within this framework, therefore, we can better understand how a rural household utilizes what they have, and in turn, what it suggests for their future livelihood and environment. Throughout the text, the term “household assets” will be referred to as “household capitals” to emphasize that household assets consist of a variety of capitals at the household level.
Migration, in addition to household capitals, is expected to have significant direct and interactive effects on the transitions as well. Domestic and international migration has been a large part of livelihood of most households in Nepal throughout its history, especially in Chitwan in the last few decades. Migration might have direct effects on the
influence an individual’s or household’s behaviors in the future. At the same time, migration might have interactive effects on the transitions through household capitals.
Successful migration would play an important role in upgrading household capitals, such as financial capital, through remittances in the context of out-migration (Connell and Conway 2000). Or migration might work in different directions based on how much a household possesses of a certain capital. For example, when a household has negative perceptions of the environment and agricultural productivity, migration might function as a catalyst to transition from farming and pursue non-agricultural activities. Thus, it is crucial to integrate migration in a livelihood analysis in the context where migration happens frequently.
The main business of Chitwan has historically been agriculture. Thus, it is important to recognize that agricultural transition changes the livelihood of most households in Chitwan. Agricultural transition can move in two directions: agricultural intensification on the one side and agricultural de-intensification on the other side. In the face of socioeconomic changes in an agricultural region, accumulated household capitals, potentially boosted by migration, would give two main options for farming households.
One is to intensify what they have been doing, which is farming, and the other is to change the mode of production, which is the transition from farming to non-farming.
However, intensification and de-intensification are not exclusive to each other. To completely understand the transition, the process of the transition should be considered.
For example, farming households might invest a substantial amount of their resources on non-farm activities, such as salary employment, but at the same time, they might continue
intensification and de-intensification of farming. Thus, instead of trying to differentiate intensification from de-intensification, I examine the changes in agricultural activities as well as the changes in the modes of production. As the first part of agricultural transition, I look at the changes in agricultural activities, such as size of farming land, size of land for rent, number of poultry, and amount of chemical fertilizer. As the second part of agricultural transition, I look at the changes in the modes of production, such as the transition from farming to non-farming, transition to the first salary employment, and transition to the first business outside the home.
First, I examine how migration and household capitals influences agricultural activities. Agricultural activities relevant to the setting of Chitwan include farming and renting land, raising poultry, and using chemical fertilizer. Agricultural activities could be affected by out-migration since migration brings money and new ideas to a household, which broadens options for a household to choose for a better livelihood. And household capitals would moderate this relationship. For example, households rich in natural capital, as reflected by positive environmental perceptions of water quality, might want to use cash and experience from migration for agricultural activities to maximize the use of their natural capital to enhance their living standard. This is also an environmentally important question because agricultural activities, like using chemical fertilizer, would result in degraded soil function, which is highly related to agricultural productivity in the long term (Raut, Sitaula, and Bajracharya 2010). It might damage water function as well since all of those chemical products would be drained into rivers when there are no proper legal
water (Berka, Schreier, and Hall 2001).
Second, I examine how migration and household capitals influence households to change the modes of production. This includes the transition from farming to nonfarming at the household level. At the individual level, it also includes the transitions to the first salary employment and to the first business outside the home. Since there would be more non-farm opportunities as the non-farm sector of a society grows, households seeking better living standards could choose to exit farming and seek non-farm activities instead of investing more time, cash and energy on farming. Households might be more likely to do so especially when social and financial remittances are accumulated via migration and when the context surrounding households favors non-farm activities. In other words, it is more likely to happen when pursuing non-farm opportunities is considered to be more attractive than continuing farming. And household capitals would moderate this relationship as they do for the relationship between migration and agricultural activities. For example, financial capital, such as livestock or poultry, might accelerate the rate of change in mode of production. In terms of environmental impact, this is also an important question in that any transitions out of farming might weaken the strength of social bonds for the protection of environment (Pretty and Ward 2001). This is because social disagreement on the directions and the ways of development possibly causes social conflicts between groups with different interests. This weak social agreement will be created especially when the main modes of production in a society diverge as we can expect in the process of urbanization accompanying agricultural transition. Therefore, as less and less people would share common interests in agriculture,
Thus, the transition out of farming could have negative impacts on the environment.
Third, I examine how migration and household capitals influence households to change the main energy source of a household: the energy transition from traditional energy sources to modern energy sources. Energy transition could be initiated by outmigration since the energy sources of a household is a matter of financial status as well as accepting new ideas (Pachauri and Jiang 2008; Masera, Saatkamp, and Kammen 2000).
Like agricultural transition, energy transition is also more than an instant switch from a traditional one to modern one. Rural households might use multiple energy sources at the same time mainly due to cultural reasons and an unstable supply of modern energy sources. This means that diverse aspects of energy transition should be explored as well.
This dissertation will test the perspectives of the energy ladder and the energy stack. The energy ladder perspective argues that the source of energy will eventually end in modern ones, such as electricity (Smith 1987; Hosier and Dowd 1987). Within this perspective, the hierarchy of energy sources has traditional ones at the bottom and modern ones on the top. On the other hand, the energy stack perspective insists that there is no hierarchy and there are also cultural and social reasons for the choice of energy sources a household uses (Joon, Chandra, and Bhattacharya 2009; Hiemstra-van der Horst and Hovorka 2008).
Exploring energy transition is environmentally important in that it is related to individual health, empowerment of women and children at the household level (Farsi, Filippini, and Pachauri 2007; Spalding-Fecher 2005; Jiang and O’Neill 2004). At the neighborhood level, it is also linked to the issue of natural resource depletion. At the national level, increasing high demand for modern energy sources could become a serious
resources, such as coal, oil or natural gas through the construction of thermal or hydro power plants. Understanding environmental transition, therefore, would bring better understanding of the current and future trends in socioeconomic development, and better prepare changing countries and societies for the future.
The setting for these proposed analyses is the Chitwan Valley in rural Nepal. This is an ideal setting for this study because it has been experiencing rapid socioeconomic and environmental changes, which have resulted in a dramatic flow of in- and outmigration at the domestic and the international levels since the 1950s. In the process of rapid changes, the lives of virtually all households in this area have been affected by the influx of new knowledge, ideas, and technology since the pace of social and environmental changes has been very intense over a very short period.
The data used to test the hypotheses have been collected for over fifteen years since 1996, and it is well-suited to this research. Because the data have collected individual migration histories every month since the beginning of the survey in February 1997, it allows for a tremendous variance in migration experience in each household having very different characteristics. More than that, by using another dataset which retrospectively collected yearly information of various aspects of individual life from 1991 to 2008, the type of migration (domestic or international) could be examined as well.
The data also has rich information about factors related to household capitals and energy use at three time points with five-year gaps between surveys so that agricultural and energy transitions could be explored thoroughly. Accordingly, it allows me to examine how migration and household capitals affect agricultural and energy transitions: the
the main energy source. In addition, the data from neighborhood histories allow me to control for the socioeconomic context of Chitwan influencing the transitions.
This study attempts to answer three important questions regarding the effects of migration and household capitals at the household level on agricultural and energy transitions which include the changes in agricultural activities, the modes of production, and main energy source. Migration is an important event in that it constantly interacts with the lives of people in destinations as well as in origins. In other words, it is a complicated social phenomenon since countless on-going factors at macro and micro levels influence the rate of migration, and the ever-changing migration patterns affect those factors in return (Massey, Arango, Hugo, Kouaouci, Pellegrino and Taylor 1993 and 1994). Understanding and integrating these interactions is a big challenge for any study because there are many aspects to be examined to figure out the complexities of migration. Facing this challenge, this dissertation conceptualizes migration as the main cause and the transitions in agriculture and energy as the outcomes. Before conceptualizing the issues with migration, I briefly describe the setting.
Internal Migration of Nepal To understand internal migration patterns in Nepal, the geography and ecology of Nepal should be understood first. According to the National Population and Housing Census 2011, Nepal is a country with the population size of total 26,494,504, and Kathmandu as the capital city. The whole country is located on the southern slope of the middle Himalayas, so the top part of the country is mountainous, the middle part is hilly, and the bottom part is relatively flat plain. Due to this reason, Nepal is divided into three ecological zones: mountain, hills, and Terai. According to the descriptions of weather