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Market Access, Trade Costs, and Technology Adoption: Evidence from Northern Tanzania

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  • Shilpa Aggarwal
  • Brian Giera
  • Dahyeon Jeong
  • Jonathan Robinson
  • Alan Spearot

Abstract

In this paper, we quantify market access in rural Tanzania, and the extent to which it constrains agricultural productivity. We collect granular data on farmer input and sales decisions, input and output prices, and travel costs in all 1,183 villages in two regions of Tanzania. We find that a village in the 90th percentile of the travel-cost adjusted price distribution faces input and output prices 40-55% less favorable than a village at the 10th percentile. In reduced form, an additional standard deviation of travel time is associated with 20-25% lower input adoption and output sales. We develop and quantify a spatial model of input adoption and conservatively estimate that farmers behave as if they face travel costs of 6% ad-valorem per kilometer of travel, which is equivalent to 40% when traveling to the closest retailer. Holding exogenous local factors fixed, we estimate that reducing travel costs by 50% (approximately the effect of paving rural roads) doubles adoption and reduces the adoption-remoteness gradient by 18%.

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  • Shilpa Aggarwal & Brian Giera & Dahyeon Jeong & Jonathan Robinson & Alan Spearot, 2018. "Market Access, Trade Costs, and Technology Adoption: Evidence from Northern Tanzania," NBER Working Papers 25253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25253
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    2. Abbasi ,Mansoureh & Lebrand,Mathilde Sylvie Maria & Mongoue,Arcady Bluette & Pongou,Roland & Zhang,Fan, 2022. "Roads, Electricity, and Jobs: Evidence of Infrastructure Complementarity in Sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9976, The World Bank.
    3. Alain de Janvry & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 2019. "Transforming developing country agriculture: Removing adoption constraints and promoting inclusive value chain development," Working Papers hal-02287668, HAL.
    4. Aggarwal, Shilpa, 2021. "The long road to health: Healthcare utilization impacts of a road pavement policy in rural India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).
    5. Despina Gavresi & Anastasia Litina & George Tsiachtsiras, 2022. "Railways and Roadways to Trust," Discussion Paper Series 2022_08, Department of Economics, University of Macedonia, revised Sep 2022.
    6. Astorga-Rojas, Diego, 2024. "Access to Markets and Technology Adoption in the Agricultural Sector: Evidence from Brazil," EconStor Preprints 289868, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    7. Kopper, Sarah A. & Jayne, Thomas S., 2019. "Market access, agro-ecological conditions, and Boserupian agricultural intensification patterns in Kenya: Implications for agricultural programs and research," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 1-1.
    8. de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2020. "Using agriculture for development: Supply- and demand-side approaches," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    9. Emerick, Kyle & De Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & Dar, Manzoor & Wiseman, Eleanor, 2020. "Private Input Suppliers as Information Agents for Technology Adoption in Agriculture," CEPR Discussion Papers 15584, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Xinyu Hou & Puyang Sun, 2023. "The impact of dismantling state monopoly on market integration: Evidence from the edible salt reform in China," Economics of Transition and Institutional Change, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 31(3), pages 589-609, July.
    11. Kopper, Sarah A. & Jayne, Thomas S. & Snapp, Sieglinde S., 2020. "Sifting through the weeds: Understanding heterogeneity in fertilizer and labor response in Central Malawi," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).
    12. Aggarwal, Shilpa & Francis, Eilin & Robinson, Jonathan, 2018. "Grain today, gain tomorrow: Evidence from a storage experiment with savings clubs in Kenya," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 1-15.
    13. Janssens, Charlotte & Havlik, Petr & Boere, Esther & Palazzo, Amanda & Mosnier, Aline & Maertens, Miet, 2021. "The African Continental Free Trade Area: Trading Africa into Sustainability?," 2021 Conference, August 17-31, 2021, Virtual 315895, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    14. Huw Lloyd-Ellis & Ardyn Nordstrom, 2021. "Trade, poverty and food security: A survey of recent research and its implications for East Africa," Working Paper 1460, Economics Department, Queen's University.
    15. Aggarwal, Shilpa, 2018. "Do rural roads create pathways out of poverty? Evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 375-395.
    16. Wouter Zant, 2022. "Two Birds with One Stone: Technology Adoption and Market Participation through Protection against Crop Failure," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 22-091/V, Tinbergen Institute.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets

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