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

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

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.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/22251
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Paper provided by American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) in its series 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada with number 22251.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea03:22251
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  1. 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.
  2. Mark Rosenzweig & Andrew D. Foster, . "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Home Pages _068, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. 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.
  4. Moser, Christine M. & Barrett, Christopher B., 2003. "The Complex Dynamics Of Smallholder Technology Adoption: The Case Of Sri In Madagascar," Working Papers 14735, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  5. 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 255-98, January.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
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