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From guesstimates to GPStimates : land area measurement and implications for agricultural analysis

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  • Carletto, Calogero
  • Gourlay, Sydney
  • Winters, Paul

Abstract

Land area measurement is a fundamental component of agricultural statistics and analysis. Yet, commonly employed self-reported land area measures used in most analysis are not only potentially measured with error, but these errors may be correlated with agricultural outcomes. Measures employing Global Positioning Systems, on the other hand, while not perfect especially on smaller plots, are likely to provide more precise measures and errors less correlated with agricultural outcomes. This paper uses data from four African countries to compare the use of self-reported and Global Positioning Systems land measures to (1) examine the differences between the measures, (2) identify the sources of the differences, and (3) assess the implications of the different measures on agricultural analysis focusing on the inverse productivity relationship. The results indicate that self-reported land areas systematically differ from Global Positioning Systems land measures and that this difference leads to potentially biased estimates of the relationship between land and productivity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6550.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6550

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Keywords: E-Business; Rural Development Knowledge&Information Systems; Economic Theory&Research; Roads&Highways; Science Education;

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  1. De Groote, Hugo & Traore, Oumar, 2005. "The cost of accuracy in crop area estimation," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 21-38, April.
  2. Lamb, Russell L., 2003. "Inverse productivity: land quality, labor markets, and measurement error," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 71-95, June.
  3. Bhalla, Surjit S & Roy, Prannoy L, 1988. "Mis-specification in Farm Productivity Analysis: The Role of Land Quality," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(1), pages 55-73, March.
  4. Christopher B. Barrett & Marc F. Bellemare & Janet Y. Hou, 2010. "Reconsidering Conventional Explanations of the Inverse Productivity-Size Relationship," Working Papers 10-22, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  5. Kelly, Valerie A. & Donovan, Cynthia, 2008. "Agricultural Statistics in Sub-Saharan Africa: Differences in Institutional Arrangements and their Impacts on Agricultural Statistics Systems. A Synthesis of Four Country Case Studies," Food Security International Development Working Papers 54558, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  6. Fermont, Anneke & Benson, Todd, 2011. "Estimating yield of food crops grown by smallholder farmers: A review in the Uganda context," IFPRI discussion papers 1097, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  7. Javier Escobal & Sonia Laszlo, 2008. "Measurement Error in Access to Markets," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(2), pages 209-243, 04.
  8. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David, 2007. "Using the global positioning system in household surveys for better economics and better policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4195, The World Bank.
  9. Carletto, Calogero & Savastano, Sara & Zezza, Alberto, 2013. "Fact or artifact: The impact of measurement errors on the farm size–productivity relationship," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 254-261.
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