The Role of Institutions for Inclusive Development of Agricultural Markets: The Case of Post-Conflict Liberia
Large populations in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) do not participate in or benefit from economic growth, which mainly benefits the elite. The ‘rules of the game’ in society, the institutions, prevent many from taking part in economic activity on equal terms. This is a problem not least in agriculture, on which a majority depends. This research seeks to increase our understanding of the role of institutions for inclusive development of agricultural markets in SSA, by studying the case of Liberia, where marginalisation of large groups led to civil war, but efforts now are made to promote inclusive growth. It asks: How do institutions influence inclusive development of agricultural markets in post-conflict Liberia? By studying cocoa, rubber and food-crop markets, it explores which institutions contribute to, or inhibit, the beneficial participation of smallholder farmers and other small market actors, the ways in which this occurs, and the relationship between particular economic and political institutions in this process. The perspective is institutional, combining literature inputs into an integrated, multi-level systemic approach. Multiple sources of data are used; interviews with smallholders and other market actors are central. Process tracing is used to identify relevant institutions and the mechanisms through which they influence inclusive development. This study contributes to the scarce economic research on Liberia and is highly relevant for policy makers and practitioners. A study has been initiated on the cocoa market.