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Estimating returns to soil conservation adoption in the northern Ethiopian highlands


  • Menale Kassie
  • John Pender
  • Mahmud Yesuf
  • Gunnar Kohlin
  • Randy Bluffstone
  • Elias Mulugeta


Land degradation in the form of soil erosion and nutrient depletion presents a threat to food security and sustainability of agricultural production in many developing countries. Governments and development agencies have invested substantial resources to promote soil conservation practices as part of an effort to improve environmental conditions and reduce poverty. However, limited rigorous empirical work has been done on the economics of soil conservation technology adoption. This article investigates the impact of stone bunds on value of crop production per hectare in low and high rainfall areas of the Ethiopian highlands using cross-sectional data from more than 900 households, with multiple plots per household. We have used modified random effects models, stochastic dominance analysis (SDA), and matching methods to ensure robustness. The parametric regression and SDA estimates are based on matched observations obtained from the nearest neighbor matching using propensity score estimates. This is important, because conventional regression and SDA estimates are obtained without ensuring that there actually exist comparable conserved and nonconserved plots on the distribution of covariates. We use matching methods, random effects, and Mundlak's approach to control selection and endogeneity bias that may arise due to correlation of unobserved heterogeneity and observed explanatory variables. Copyright 2008 International Association of Agricultural Economists.

Suggested Citation

  • Menale Kassie & John Pender & Mahmud Yesuf & Gunnar Kohlin & Randy Bluffstone & Elias Mulugeta, 2008. "Estimating returns to soil conservation adoption in the northern Ethiopian highlands," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 38(2), pages 213-232, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:agecon:v:38:y:2008:i:2:p:213-232

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