What are the Dynamic Effects of Fertilizer Subsidies on Household Well‐being? Evidence from Malawi
This study uses household level panel data from Malawi to measure the contemporaneous and dynamic impacts of fertilizer subsidies on different indicators of household well‐being. Well‐being is measured in this paper using indicators contained in available survey data, such as area cultivated, maize production, asset wealth, respondent‐stated adequacy of food consumption and respondent-stated life satisfaction. The study uses fixed effects and instrumental variable methods to control for endogeneity caused by the non‐random distribution of targeted fertilizer subsidies. Results indicate that the quantity of subsidized fertilizer acquired by a household has a positive contemporaneous effect on area planted, area planted to maize and maize production at the household level. The subsidy also has a significant dynamic effect on the quantity of maize that households produce. Subsidized fertilizer has no significant contemporaneous or dynamic effect on household asset accumulation. Receiving more subsidized fertilizer does not make households feel that their food consumption has been adequate over the past year, but receiving more subsidized fertilizer makes household heads say that they are more satisfied with their lives. Subsidized fertilizer appears to be going to people with more land. In addition, people in villages where members of parliament reside also receive greater quantities of subsidized fertilizer. These findings raise questions about how subsidy recipients are targeted. Improving targeting could increase the positive impacts of fertilizer subsidies on household well‐being.
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