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Growing their own: Unobservable quality and the value of self-provisioning

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  • Hoffmann, Vivian
  • Gatobu, Ken Mwithirwa

Abstract

Many important food quality and safety attributes are unobservable at the point of sale, particularly in informal markets with weak reputation effects. Through a framed field experiment conducted in western Kenya, we show that farmers place a large premium on maize they have grown themselves, relative to that available for purchase. Providing information on the origin of maize, and on its taste and safety, reduces this gap. We conclude that information which is unavailable during typical market transactions is important to how consumers value maize, and that imperfect information may contribute to the prevalence of agricultural production for subsistence needs in developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Hoffmann, Vivian & Gatobu, Ken Mwithirwa, 2014. "Growing their own: Unobservable quality and the value of self-provisioning," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 168-178.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:106:y:2014:i:c:p:168-178
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2013.08.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kadjo, Didier & Ricker-Gilbert, Jacob & Tahirou, Abdoulaye & BACO, Nasser, 2016. "How Do Storage Practices Affect Smallholder Farmers’ Market Participation In Benin?," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235703, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. McCoy, Stacy & Ricker-Gilbert, Jacob & Sall, Moussa & Bauchet, Jonathan, 2016. "How do traders and consumers in sub-Saharan Africa value maize moisture content? Evidence from an experimental auction in Senegal," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235911, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Moser, Christine & Hoffmann, Vivian, 2015. "Firm heterogeneity in food safety provision: Evidence from aflatoxin tests in Kenya:," IFPRI discussion papers 1416, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Kadjo, Didier & Ricker-Gilbert, Jacob & Tahirou, Abdoulaye & Shively, Gerald & Baco, Nasser, 2016. "Adverse selection in informal maize markets in Benin," 2016 AAAE Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 249289, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
    5. Kadjo, Didier & Ricker-Gilbert, Jacob & Alexander, Corinne, 2016. "Estimating Price Discounts for Low-Quality Maize in sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from Benin," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 115-128.
    6. Gajate-Garrido, Gissele & Hoffmann, Vivian & Magnan, Nicholas & Opoku, Nelson, 2016. "Technological and Market Interventions for Aflatoxin Control in Ghana: Preliminary Findings," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 236267, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    7. Moser, Christine & Hoffmann, Vivian & Ordonez, Romina, 2014. "Firm heterogeneity in food safety provision: evidence from aflatoxin tests in Kenya," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 170588, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    8. Johnson, Nancy L. & Atherstone, Christine & Grace, Delia, 2015. "The potential of farm-level technologies and practices to contribute to reducing consumer exposure to aflatoxins: A theory of change analysis:," IFPRI discussion papers 1452, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. repec:eee:deveco:v:129:y:2017:i:c:p:58-72 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Kadjo, Didier & Ricker-Gilbert, Jacob & Alexander, Corinne, 2015. "Does quality affect maize prices in sub-Saharan Africa? Evidence from Benin," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205503, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    11. Morey, Mitchell, 2016. "Preferences and the home bias in trade," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 24-37.

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