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Complementarity and sequencing of innovations: new varieties and mechanized processing for cassava in West Africa

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  • Michael Johnson
  • William Masters

Abstract

Complementarity among inter-related innovations may help explain the location and timing of productivity growth, and may be particularly important in the transformation of semi-subsistence agrarian economies. We study the case of cassava in West Africa, where both mechanized processors and new varieties are more widespread in Nigeria than in neighboring countries. One explanation involves complementarity: mechanization may have induced new variety adoption, or vice-versa. We test the magnitude and significance of these linkages using a system of equations approach. Controlling for other factors, we find that new variety adoption consistently increases the likelihood of subsequent mechanization by an average of 75 percent. Mechanization is less consistently associated with subsequent new variety adoption. Historically, mechanization came first - but the later development of new varieties made mechanization much more profitable, and the two then spread together.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Johnson & William Masters, 2004. "Complementarity and sequencing of innovations: new varieties and mechanized processing for cassava in West Africa," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 19-31.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:13:y:2004:i:1:p:19-31
    DOI: 10.1080/1043859042000156011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Camara, Youssouf & Staatz, John M. & Crawford, Eric W., 2001. "Comparing The Profitability Of Cassava-Based Production Systems In Three West African Countries: Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana And Nigeria," Staff Papers 11593, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    2. David, Cristina C. & Otsuka, Keijiro, 1990. "The Modern Seed-Fertiliser Technology And Adoption Of Labour-Saving Technologies: The Philippine Case," Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 34(02), August.
    3. Jayasuriya, S. K. & Shand, R. T., 1986. "Technical change and labor absorption in Asian agriculture: Some emerging trends," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 415-428, March.
    4. Smale, Melinda & Heisey, Paul W & Leathers, Howard D, 1995. "Maize of the Ancestors and Modern Varieties: The Microeconomics of High-Yielding Variety Adoption in Malawi," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 351-368, January.
    5. Melinda Smale & Richard E. Just & Howard D. Leathers, 1994. "Land Allocation in HYV Adoption Models: An Investigation of Alternative Explanations," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 76(3), pages 535-546.
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    Cited by:

    1. O’Gorman Melanie, 2015. "Africa’s missed agricultural revolution: a quantitative study of the policy options," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 15(2), pages 561-602, July.
    2. Nweke, Felix, 2004. "New challenges in the cassava transformation in Nigeria and Ghana:," EPTD discussion papers 118, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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