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Can area measurement error explain the inverse farm size productivity relationship?

  • Holden, Stein

    ()

    (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences)

  • Fisher, Monica

    ()

    (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center)

The existence of an inverse relationship (IR) between farm size and productivity in tropical agriculture remains a debated issue with policy relevance. Poor agricultural statistical data, including data on farm sizes and farm plot sizes that typically are self-reported by farmers, can lead to biased results and wrong policy conclusions. This study combines self-reported and GPS-measured farm plot and farm sizes to assess how measurement error affects the IR using three rounds of farm plot and household data from Malawi. The results show that measurement error covers up more than 60% of the IR for the total sample but leads to an upward bias in the IR on farms less than one ha. Land and labor market imperfections in combination with food self-sufficiency motives appear to explain most of the IR and lead to a strong IR on farms below one ha.

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File URL: http://www.umb.no/statisk/clts/papers/clts_wp12_2013.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences in its series CLTS Working Papers with number 12/13.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 20 Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:nlsclt:2013_012
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Aas, Norway
Phone: (+47) 6496 5700
Fax: (+47) 6494 3012
Web page: http://www.umb.no/clts

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  1. Lamb, Russell L., 2003. "Inverse productivity: land quality, labor markets, and measurement error," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 71-95, June.
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