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Targeting, bias, and expected impact of complex innovations on developing-country agriculture: Evidence from Malawi

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  • Haile, Beliyou
  • Azzarri, Carlo
  • Roberts, Cleo
  • Spielman, David J.

Abstract

Sustainable intensification and climate-smart agriculture initiatives promote complex systems-based innovations to simultaneously improve yields and conserve natural resources. These innovations are usually tested under near-perfect experimental conditions with purposively selected farmers. Using a quasi-experimental approach and geographic information system, we evaluate a systems-based sustainable intensification project in Malawi aiming at improving whole-farm productivity and nutrition through integrated agricultural innovations. We find adopters of these innovations to systematically differ from non-adopters and suggestive evidence of potential systematic targeting of project locations and households. Econometric results using efficient influence function and propensity score matching methods show consistently higher maize yield and value of harvest, on average and across quantiles, for project beneficiaries, compared to that of randomly selected non-beneficiary households in non-target villages. Our findings highlight the need to rethink selection criteria for systems-based innovations, something that could potentially bear severe implications upon scaling up.

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  • Haile, Beliyou & Azzarri, Carlo & Roberts, Cleo & Spielman, David J., 2015. "Targeting, bias, and expected impact of complex innovations on developing-country agriculture: Evidence from Malawi," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 211697, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae15:211697
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.211697
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural and Food Policy; International Development;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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