Forces of modernization and the welfare of rural households: a saga of a village in Central Luzon, 1977-2013

Francis Mark Quimba, Jonna Estudillo



 This study aims to give a detailed account of how household sources of livelihood, income, and poverty change under the pressure of four modernizing forces: (1) population pressure on closed land frontier; (2) implementation of land reform; (3) expansion of public infrastructures such as irrigation systems, roads, and schools; and (4) growing urban influences accelerated by improvements in transportation and telecommunication systems. This study was conducted in a village in Central Luzon where recurrent household surveys were done for 36 years from 1977 to 2013 encompassing the period of dramatic diffusion of modern rice technology. The major finding is that the interaction between the four modernizing forces and the diffusion of modern rice technology resulted in major economic and social changes that led to a rise in household income and prevented poverty from increasing. This study provides evidence contrary to the popular belief that the spread of modern agricultural technology and the encroachment of market activities into rural villages are harmful to the economic welfare of the rural Filipino people. 

JEL classification: O15, Q12, Q15


poverty, inequality, irrigation, urbanization

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