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Vulnerability, Risk Management, and Agricultural Development

  • Marcel Fafchamps

This paper examines the relationship between agricultural development, vulnerability to shocks and the risk management practices of small farmers in developing countries. Economic thinking on technology adoption has long been influenced by a model of a rational but risk-averse farmer. Experimental evidence suggests that aversion to downside risk is a better representation of human preferences than aversion to risk per se. The prescribed solution, no matter what kind of risk the farmer is concerned about, is to offer insurance. Recent field experiments indicate that other behavioral considerations play a role as well, such as impulse purchases and vulnerability to marketing campaigns. This may explain why adoption of agricultural innovations is often gradual and displays patterns consistent with peer effects through social networks and geographical proximity.

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File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/workingpapers/pdfs/2009-11text.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number CSAE WPS/2009-11.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:csae-wps/2009-11
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