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Consumption risk, technology adoption and poverty traps: evidence from Ethiopia

  • Stefan Dercon
  • Luc Christiaensen

Much has been written on the determinants of input and technology adoption in agriculture, with issues such as input availability, knowledge and education, risk preferences, profitability, and credit constraints receiving much attention. This paper focuses on a factor that has been less well documented: the differential ability of households to take on risky production technologies for fear of the welfare consequences if shocks result in poor harvests. Building on an explicit model, this is explored in panel data for Ethiopia. Historical rainfall distributions are used to identify the counterfactual consumption risk. Controlling for unobserved household and time-varying village characteristics, it emerges that not just exante credit constraints, but also the possibly low consumption outcomes when harvests fail, discourage the application of fertiliser. The lack of insurance causes inefficiency in production choices.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2007-06.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2007-06
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  1. Stefan Dercon, 1993. "Risk, crop choice and saving: evidence from Tanzania," CSAE Working Paper Series 1993-02, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  2. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Binswanger, Hans P., 1992. "Wealth, weather risk, and the composition and profitability of agricultural investments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1055, The World Bank.
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  10. Kazianga, Harounan & Udry, Christopher, 2006. "Consumption smoothing? Livestock, insurance and drought in rural Burkina Faso," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 413-446, April.
  11. Takashi Kurosaki & Marcel Fafchamps, 1998. "Insurance Market Efficiency and Crop Choices in Pakistan," Discussion Paper Series a358, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  12. Andre Croppenstedt & Mulat Demeke & Meloria M. Meschi, 2003. "Technology Adoption in the Presence of Constraints: the Case of Fertilizer Demand in Ethiopia," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 58-70, February.
  13. 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.
  14. Paul Collier & Stefan Dercon & Marcel Fafchamps, 2000. "Credit Constraints in Manufacturing Enterprises in Africa," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2000-24, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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  17. Boucher, Stephen R. & Guirkinger, Catherine & Trivelli, Carolina, 2006. "Direct Elicitation of Credit Constraints: Conceptual and Practical Issues with an Empirical Application to Peruvian Agriculture," Working Papers 6883, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  18. Leggesse Dadi & Michael Burton & Adam Ozanne, 2004. "Duration Analysis of Technological Adoption in Ethiopian Agriculture," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 613-631.
  19. Robert M. Townsend, 1995. "Consumption Insurance: An Evaluation of Risk-Bearing Systems in Low-Income Economies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 83-102, Summer.
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  23. Christiaensen, Luc. J. & Subbarao, Kalanidhi, 2004. "Toward an understanding of household vulnerability in rural Kenya," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3326, The World Bank.
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  26. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 2000. "Vulnerability, seasonality and poverty in Ethiopia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 25-53.
  27. Russell L. Lamb, 2003. "Fertilizer Use, Risk, and Off-Farm Labor Markets in the Semi-Arid Tropics of India," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(2), pages 359-371.
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