Environmental Income as a Pathway Out of Poverty? Empirical Evidence on Asset Accumulation in Nepal

<p>Using unique, environmentally augmented household panel data reflecting households’ annual cash and subsistence income portfolios, we model change over time in the value of four assets – livestock, implements, savings, and jewellery. A seemingly unrelated regression model reveals that although environmental resources on average contribute 16 per cent of the total household income, the contribution to asset accumulation is limited. Hence, environmental income does not constitute a pathway out of poverty in Nepal under the current set of regulations and tenure regimes. Asset accumulation was instead associated (both negatively and positively) with agricultural income (particularly as subsistence income), wage and business income. Most environmental income was obtained as subsistence income indicating that the environmental resources that households have access to present little opportunity for cash generation. Securing access of the poor to environmental resources may increase its role in poverty alleviation.</p>