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The inverse productivity size relationship: can it be explained by systematic measurement error in self-reported production?

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  • Desiere, Sam

Abstract

This paper revisits the decades-old puzzle of the inverse productivity plot-size relationship (IR), which states that land productivity decrease with increasing plot size in developing countries. While most empirical studies about the IR define yields as self-reported production divided by plot size, this paper complements this approach with an alternative, objective method to estimate yields: crop cuts. Using crop cuts as proxy for yields, the IR in Ethiopia disappears, while the relationship is strong when yields are based on self-reported production. The inverse relationship is even reversed as there exists a weak, positive correlation between plot size and crop cuts. This implies that farmers systematically over report production on small plots and underreport it on larger ones. Our findings suggest that the IR is an artifact of systematic measurement error in self-reported production.

Suggested Citation

  • Desiere, Sam, 2016. "The inverse productivity size relationship: can it be explained by systematic measurement error in self-reported production?," 2016 Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 246971, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaae16:246971
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    1. Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum & Dorosh, Paul A. & Gemessa, Sinafikeh Asrat, 2012. "Crop production in Ethiopia: Regional patterns and trends," IFPRI book chapters,in: Food and agriculture in Ethiopia: Progress and policy challenges, chapter 3 International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    6. Barrett, Christopher B. & Bellemare, Marc F. & Hou, Janet Y., 2010. "Reconsidering Conventional Explanations of the Inverse Productivity-Size Relationship," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 88-97, January.
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    9. Fermont, Anneke & Benson, Todd, 2011. "Estimating yield of food crops grown by smallholder farmers: A review in the Uganda context," IFPRI discussion papers 1097, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    11. Boumans, Marcel, 2015. "Science Outside the Laboratory: Measurement in Field Science and Economics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199388288.
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    Keywords

    Consumer/Household Economics; Farm Management; Production Economics;

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