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Profitability of Fertilizer: Experimental Evidence from Female Rice Farmers in Mali

Author

Listed:
  • Lori Beaman
  • Dean Karlan
  • Bram Thuysbaert
  • Christopher Udry

Abstract

We conducted an experiment providing fertilizer grants to female rice farmers in Mali. We found that women who received fertilizer used both more fertilizer and more complementary inputs such as herbicides and hired labor. This shows that farmers respond to an increase in one input by re-optimizing other inputs. Second, while the increase in inputs led to a considerable increase in output, we found no evidence that profits increased. Our results suggest that fertilizer's impact on profits is small compared to other sources of variation. This may make it difficult for farmers to learn about the returns to fertilizer.

Suggested Citation

  • Lori Beaman & Dean Karlan & Bram Thuysbaert & Christopher Udry, 2013. "Profitability of Fertilizer: Experimental Evidence from Female Rice Farmers in Mali," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 381-386, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:3:p:381-86
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.381
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Esther Duflo & Michael Kremer & Jonathan Robinson, 2011. "Nudging Farmers to Use Fertilizer: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2350-2390, October.
    2. Esther Duflo & Michael Kremer & Jonathan Robinson, 2008. "How High Are Rates of Return to Fertilizer? Evidence from Field Experiments in Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 482-488, May.
    3. Tavneet Suri, 2011. "Selection and Comparative Advantage in Technology Adoption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 159-209, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jfpoli:v:75:y:2018:i:c:p:1-14 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Kyle Emerick & Alain de Janvry & Elisabeth Sadoulet & Manzoor H. Dar, 2016. "Technological Innovations, Downside Risk, and the Modernization of Agriculture," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(6), pages 1537-1561, June.
    3. repec:idb:idbbks:7705 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Arturo Aguilar & Eliana Carranza & Markus Goldstein & Talip Kilic & Gbemisola Oseni, 2015. "Decomposition of gender differentials in agricultural productivity in Ethiopia," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 46(3), pages 311-334, May.
    5. Bold, Tessa & Kaizzi, Kayuki & Svensson, Jakob & Yanagizawa-Drott, David, 2015. "Low Quality, Low Returns, Low Adoption: Evidence from the Market for Fertilizer and Hybrid Seed in Uganda," CEPR Discussion Papers 10743, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Jayne, T.S. & Mason, Nicole M. & Burke, William J. & Ariga, Joshua, 2016. "Agricultural Input Subsidy Programs in Africa: An Assessment of Recent Evidence," Food Security International Development Working Papers 245892, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    7. Levine, N. Kendra & Mason, Nicole M. & Morgan, Stephen N., 2016. "Do input subsidies crowd in or crowd out other soil fertility management practices? Panel survey evidence from Zambia," 2016 AAAE Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 246393, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
    8. Tomoya Matsumoto, 2013. "Disseminating New Farming Practices among Small Scale Farmers: An Experimental Intervention in Uganda," NBER Chapters,in: Experiments for Development: Achievements and New Directions National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Teresa Molina Millán & Karen Macours, 2017. "Attrition in randomized control trials: Using tracking information to correct bias," FEUNL Working Paper Series novaf:wp1702, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
    10. Voors, Maarten & Demont, Matty & Bulte, Erwin, 2016. "New Experiments in Agriculture," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 11(1), March.
    11. Jacob Ricker-Gilbert & T. S. Jayne, 2017. "Estimating the Enduring Effects of Fertiliser Subsidies on Commercial Fertiliser Demand and Maize Production: Panel Data Evidence from Malawi," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 70-97, February.
    12. Ashour, Maha & Billings, Lucy & Gilligan, Daniel & Hoel, Jessica B. & Karachiwalla, Naureen, 2016. "Do beliefs about agricultural inputs counterfeiting correspond with actual rates of counterfeiting? Evidence from Uganda:," IFPRI discussion papers 1552, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    13. Beaman, Lori & Karlan, Dean & Thuysbaert, Bram & Udry, Christopher, 2014. "Self-Selection into Credit Markets: Evidence from Agriculture in Mali," Working Papers 135, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    14. Nazziwa-Nviiri, Lydia & Van Campenhout, Bjorn & Amwonya, David, 2017. "Stimulating agricultural technology adoption: Lessons from fertilizer use among Ugandan potato farmers," IFPRI discussion papers 1608, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    15. Gabriel Casaburi & Gustavo Crespi & Ignacio L. De León & José Fernández & Lucas Figal Garone & Matteo Grazzi & Carlos Guaipatín & Jorge Katz & Juan J. Llisterri & Alessandro Maffioli & Juan Carlos Nav, 2016. "La política de innovación en América Latina y el Caribe: Nuevos caminos," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 94816 edited by Juan Carlos Navarro & Jocelyn Olivari, February.
    16. Holden, Stein T. & Westberg, Nina Bruvik, 2016. "Exploring technology use under climate risk and shocks through an experimental lens," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 11(1), March.
    17. repec:eee:jjieco:v:33:y:2014:i:c:p:43-74 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, 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
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services

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