Better Technology, Better Plots or Better Farmers? Identifying Changes in Productivity and Risk Among Malagasy Rice Farmers

American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Forthcoming

Posted: 10 Sep 2003 Last revised: 13 Feb 2015

See all articles by Christopher B. Barrett

Christopher B. Barrett

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management

Christine M. Moser

Cornell University - Department of Economics and Management

Joeli Barison

Cornell University - Department of Soil, Crop and Atmospheric Sciences

Oloro V. McHugh

Cornell University - Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 1, 2003

Abstract

It is often difficult to determine the extent to which observed output gains are due to a new technology itself, rather than to the skill of the farmer or the quality of the plot on which the new technology is tried. This attribution problem becomes especially important when technologies are not embodied in purchased inputs but result instead from changed farmer cultivation practices. We introduce a method for properly attributing observed productivity and risk changes among new production methods, farmers and plots by controlling for farmer and plot heterogeneity using differential production and yield risk functions. Results from Madagascar show that the new system of rice intensification (SRI) is indeed a superior technology. Although most observed productivity gains appear due to farmer aptitude, the technology alone generates estimated average output gains of more than 37 percent. These findings also help resolve several outstanding puzzles associated with observed low and incomplete uptake and high rates of disadoption of SRI in spite of the technology's manifest superiority.

JEL Classification: O1, Q12, Q16, Q18

Suggested Citation

Barrett, Christopher B. and Moser, Christine M. and Barison, Joeli and McHugh, Oloro V., Better Technology, Better Plots or Better Farmers? Identifying Changes in Productivity and Risk Among Malagasy Rice Farmers (June 1, 2003). American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=431320 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.431320

Christopher B. Barrett (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management ( email )

315 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7801
United States
607-255-4489 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://aem.cornell.edu/faculty_sites/cbb2/

Christine M. Moser

Cornell University - Department of Economics and Management ( email )

206 Warren Hall Campus
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601
United States
607-272-0496 (Phone)

Joeli Barison

Cornell University - Department of Soil, Crop and Atmospheric Sciences ( email )

610 Bradfield Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-254-1244 (Phone)

Oloro V. McHugh

Cornell University - Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering ( email )

58 Riley-Robb
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-2463 (Phone)

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