Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationEast Carolina U.
Grant numberGr. 9625
Approve DateApril 13, 2018
Project TitleSchacht, Dr. Ryan N., U. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT - To aid research on 'Economic Diversification in Response to Socioecological Uncertainty: Causes and Consequences of the Emergence of Inequality among the Yucatec Maya'
RYAN N. SCHACHT, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, was awarded a grant in April 2018 to aid research on ‘Economic Diversification in Response to Socioecological Uncertainty: Causes and Consequences of the Emergence of Inequality among the Yucatec Maya.’ Relatively recent infrastructure development has introduced new economic opportunities into a Mayan community that has, until recently, presented a largely homogeneous, maize-based subsistence economy. These developments have created a novel situation where payoffs to employing traditional agricultural practices versus adopting new subsistence strategies are uncertain. Given this dynamic economic landscape, our goal with this research was to explore changes within the family given novel subsistence opportunities. While this project is currently ongoing, we have two key findings to report. 1) Market integration results in dramatic variation in the number of children women have. Mothers, when faced with new and uncertain economic opportunities, follow diverging high or low fertility paths given a lack of information about the future. This variation, however, is replaced with homogeneity in response to the adoption of contraception to maintain low fertility. 2) The introduction of mechanized farming has provided fathers with the opportunity to refocus time and energy otherwise spent on traditional, hand-farming techniques. While more time spent in leisure, social, or wage labor were all possible outcomes, fathers instead redirected their time into the household. Specifically, fathers now spend significantly more time engaged in domestic tasks and interacting with their children than in the past.