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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Resources, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Technology and Work in Production and Distribution Systems: Rice in India

Informal economies are neglected in debates about climate change and the long-awaited materials revolution. This trans-disciplinary pilot project will develop methods to study the informal economy’s materiality.

Methods: Uniting life-cycle analysis (from environmental science) with value chain/production system analysis (from management science and economics) and decent work criteria (from labour studies), it explores how capital, technology and labour are combined to produce commodities and GHGs. Multi-criteria analysis will then explore the costs and incommensurable trade-offs of technology  lowering GHGs and improving livelihoods. 

Substance: CO2 (and possibly water) are chosen as indicators of materiality. The system of rice production and distribution is selected since the research team is familiar with its complexity.

Evidence: Data will be collected from semi-arid tropical regions. Four production technologies will be stylised, for large and small units (high yield varieties, systems of rice intensification, ‘labelled’ organic rice and rainfed rice); and four distribution channels (informal distribution, partially regulated markets, supermarket supply chains and the state’s public distribution systems).

Outreach: The project engages with stakeholders and communicates its results globally. Its intended impact is on uptake and on further applications.