Soft Skills for Hard Constraints: Evidence from High-Achieving Female Farmers

35 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2017 Last revised: 21 May 2020

See all articles by Joao Montalvao

Joao Montalvao

World Bank

Michael Frese

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Markus Goldstein

World Bank

Talip Kilic

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG)

Michael Dr. Frese

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: June 8, 2017

Abstract

This paper documents the positive link between the noncognitive skills of women farmers and the adoption of a cash crop. The context is Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world, where the majority of rural households practice subsistence farming. The analysis finds that a one standard deviation increase in noncognitive ability related to perseverance is associated with a five percentage point (or 33 percent) increase in the probability of adoption of the main cash crop. This link is not explained by differences across women in education and cognitive skills. It is also not explained by the fact that women with higher noncognitive ability tend to be married to husbands of higher noncognitive ability and education. The effect of female noncognitive skills on adoption is concentrated in patrilocal communities, where women face greater adversity and thus where it would be expected that the returns to such skills would be highest. One main channel through which noncognitive skills seem to work is through the use of productive inputs, including higher levels of labor, fertilizer, and agricultural advice services.

Keywords: Education For All, Educational Populations, Education for Development (superceded), Educational Sciences, Health Care Services Industry, Gender and Development

Suggested Citation

Montalvao, Joao and Frese, Michael and Goldstein, Markus P. and Kilic, Talip and Frese, Michael Dr., Soft Skills for Hard Constraints: Evidence from High-Achieving Female Farmers (June 8, 2017). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8095, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2985522

Joao Montalvao (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

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Michael Frese

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

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Singapore, 119228
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Markus P. Goldstein

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
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Talip Kilic

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG) ( email )

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Rome, Lazio 00184
Italy

Michael Dr. Frese

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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