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Do Differences in the Scale of Irrigation Projects Generate Different Impacts on Poverty and Production?

  • Andrew Dillon

This paper investigates differences in household production and consumption among small- and large-scale irrigators to assess whether the scale of an irrigation project increases household welfare in Mali. Much of the evidence of the impact of irrigation does not use counterfactual analysis to estimate such impact or distinguish between the scale of the irrigation projects to be evaluated. In the dataset collected by the author, both a large-scale irrigation project and small-scale projects are used to construct counterfactual groups. Propensity score matching is used to estimate the average treatment effect on the treated for small and large irrigators relative to nonirrigators on agricultural production, agricultural income, and consumption per capita. Small-scale irrigation has a larger effect on agricultural production and agricultural income than large-scale irrigation, but large-scale irrigation has a larger effect on consumption per capita. This suggests that market integration and nonfarm externalities are important in realizing gains in agricultural surplus from irrigation.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Agricultural Economics.

Volume (Year): 62 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 474-492

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jageco:v:62:y:2011:i:2:p:474-492
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  1. Gilligan, Daniel O. & Hoddinott, John, 2007. "AJAE Appendix: Is There Persistence in the Impact of Emergency Food Aid? Evidence on Consumption, Food Security and Assets in Rural Ethiopia," American Journal of Agricultural Economics Appendices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(2), May.
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  12. Dillon, Andrew, 2008. "Access to irrigation and the escape from poverty: Evidence from Northern Mali," IFPRI discussion papers 782, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  13. Juan Jose Diaz & Sudhanshu Handa, 2006. "An Assessment of Propensity Score Matching as a Nonexperimental Impact Estimator: Evidence from Mexico’s PROGRESA Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
  14. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1999. "Comment on James J. Heckman, "Instrumental Variables: A Study of Implicit Behavioral Assumptions Used in Making Program Evaluations"," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 823-827.
  15. James J. Heckman, 2010. "Building Bridges Between Structural and Program Evaluation Approaches to Evaluating Policy," NBER Working Papers 16110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Gilligan, Daniel O. & Hoddinott, John, 2006. "Is there persistence in the impact of emergency food aid? Evidence on consumption, food security, and assets in rural Ethiopia," FCND discussion papers 209, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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