About the subject:

In West Africa even today, the direct exchange of some particular everyday goods is still widespread in rural areas. Despite the dominant use of money there are some goods for which, from the perspective of the consumers, barter appears to be advantageous. The economic rationale behind this practice is related to the fact that, at least in the rural milieu, household budgets include significant amounts of non-monetary resources. The members of these households live on what they harvest from their own fields, which is never monetized. At the same time there are other fields which are cultivated for cash crops. No family budget is today without monetary funds. But income is always subject to certain socially defined restrictions, while the work on the subsistence fields is the duty of all household members.

The dissertation shall investigate these practices and the related reasoning behind them. Furthermore, it will be useful to include household budgets and stories about the acquisition of goods. In addition to this, stories about money and especially memories of historical changes in the role of money (e.g. in the francophone area, the devaluation of 1994) should be documented. Thorough research will provide a differentiated picture of not only the benefits, but also the risks in dealing with money. Thus the rationality of the exclusion of certain exchange operations should be shown, in particular with regard to the sphere of money. A possible further effect of this study will be to identify systematic misrepresentations in the statistics for per capita income in these countries. These statistics do not consider the so-called subsistence domain. The motives for the ambivalence towards and for the distancing from "money" should be stated at the end of the thesis.

Deadline: January 17

Find out more.