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Forecasting Profitability

  • Mark Rosenzweig

    ()

    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

  • christopher Udry

    ()

    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

We use newly-available Indian panel data to estimate how the returns to planting-stage investments vary by rainfall realizations. We show that the forecasts significantly affect farmer investment decisions and that these responses account for a substantial fraction of the inter-annual variability in planting-stage investments, that the skill of the forecasts varies across areas of India, and that farmers respond more strongly to the forecast where there is more forecast skill and not at all when there is no skill. We show, using an IV strategy in which the Indian government forecast of monsoon rainfall serves as the main instrument, that the return to agricultural investment depends substantially on the conditions under which it is estimated. Using the full rainfall distribution and our profit function estimates, we find that Indian farmers on average under-invest, by a factor of three, when we compare actual levels of investments to the optimal investment level that maximizes expected profits. Farmers who use skilled forecasts have increased average profit levels but also have more variable profits compared with farmers without access to forecasts. Even modest improvements in forecast skill would substantially increase average profits.

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File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp1029.pdf
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Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 1029.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:1029
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  1. Dean Karlan & Christopher Udry & Isaac Osei-Akoto & Robert Darko Osei, 2012. "Agricultural Decisions after Relaxing Credit and Risk Constraints," Working Papers 1019, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  2. Esther Duflo & Michael Kremer & Jonathan Robinson, 2011. "Nudging Farmers to Use Fertilizer: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2350-90, October.
  3. Marcel Fafchamps & David McKenzie & Simon R. Quinn & Christopher Woodruff, 2011. "When is capital enough to get female microenterprises growing? Evidence from a randomized experiment in Ghana," NBER Working Papers 17207, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dean Karlan & Robert Darko Osei & Isaac Osei-Akoto & Christopher Udry, 2012. "Agricultural Decisions after Relaxing Credit and Risk Constraints," NBER Working Papers 18463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Maurizio Mazzocco & Shiv Saini, 2012. "Testing Efficient Risk Sharing with Heterogeneous Risk Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 428-68, February.
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