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Better Technology, Better Plots or Better Farmers? Identifying Changes in Productivity and Risk Among Malagasy Rice Farmers

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  • Barrett, Christopher B.
  • Moser, Christine M.

Abstract

In assessing the productivity gains of a new technology, it is often difficult to determine the extent to which observed output gains are due to the technology itself, rather than to the skill of the farmer or the quality of the plot on which the new technology is tried. This problem of attribution is especially important when technologies are not embodied in purchased inputs such as seed or machinery but result instead from changed farmer cultivation practices. Using data based on observations of farmers in Madagascar who simultaneously practice both a newly introduced and traditional rice production methods, we introduce a method for properly attributing observed productivity and risk changes among new production methods, farmers and plots by controlling for farmer and plot heterogeneity using differential production and yield risk functions. Our results help resolve several outstanding puzzling associated with observed low and incomplete uptake and high rates of disadoption of the new system of rice intensification (SRI) in spite of consistent, sharp yield increases on small farmers' fields without application of additional external inputs.

Suggested Citation

  • Barrett, Christopher B. & Moser, Christine M., 2003. "Better Technology, Better Plots or Better Farmers? Identifying Changes in Productivity and Risk Among Malagasy Rice Farmers," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22251, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea03:22251
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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/22251/files/sp03ba04.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Christine M. Moser & Christopher B. Barrett, 2006. "The complex dynamics of smallholder technology adoption: the case of SRI in Madagascar," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 35(3), pages 373-388, November.
    2. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1995. "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1176-1209, December.
    3. Stoop, Willem A. & Uphoff, Norman & Kassam, Amir, 2002. "A review of agricultural research issues raised by the system of rice intensification (SRI) from Madagascar: opportunities for improving farming systems for resource-poor farmers," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 249-274, March.
    4. Moser, Christine M. & Barrett, Christopher B., 2003. "The disappointing adoption dynamics of a yield-increasing, low external-input technology: the case of SRI in Madagascar," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 1085-1100, June.
    5. Lisa A. Cameron, 1999. "The Importance of Learning in the Adoption of High-Yielding Variety Seeds," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(1), pages 83-94.
    6. Just, Richard E. & Pope, Rulon D., 1978. "Stochastic specification of production functions and economic implications," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 67-86, February.
    7. Feder, Gershon & Just, Richard E & Zilberman, David, 1985. "Adoption of Agricultural Innovations in Developing Countries: A Survey," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 255-298, January.
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    Keywords

    Productivity Analysis;

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