AbstractWe use newly-available Indian panel data to estimate how the returns to planting-stage investments vary by rainfall realizations. We show that the forecasts significantly affect farmer investment decisions and that these responses account for a substantial fraction of the inter-annual variability in planting-stage investments, that the skill of the forecasts varies across areas of India, and that farmers respond more strongly to the forecast where there is more forecast skill and not at all when there is no skill. We show, using an IV strategy in which the Indian government forecast of monsoon rainfall serves as the main instrument, that the return to agricultural investment depends substantially on the conditions under which it is estimated. Using the full rainfall distribution and our profit function estimates, we find that Indian farmers on average under-invest, by a factor of three, when we compare actual levels of investments to the optimal investment level that maximizes expected profits. Farmers who use skilled forecasts have increased average profit levels but also have more variable profits compared with farmers without access to forecasts. Even modest improvements in forecast skill would substantially increase average profits.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19334.
Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Other versions of this item:
- D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
- D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
- O12 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
- O13 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
- Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
- Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGR-2013-09-24 (Agricultural Economics)
- NEP-ALL-2013-09-24 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEV-2013-09-24 (Development)
- NEP-EFF-2013-09-24 (Efficiency & Productivity)
- NEP-FOR-2013-09-24 (Forecasting)
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