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Nudging Boserup? The Impact of Fertilizer Subsidies on Investment in Soil and Water Conservation


  • Vondolia, Godwin Kofi
  • Eggert, Håkan
  • Stage, Jesper


The new fertilizer subsidies in sub-Saharan Africa are intended to increase agricultural production and ensure development of a fertilizer market. Fertilizer adoption requires complementary inputs, such as investment in soil and water conservation (SWC), for efficient and optimal nutrient uptake, and many fertilizer subsidy programs implicitly assume that fertilizer subsidies crowd in such investments. The results of our study of the impact of fertilizer subsidies on SWC efforts in Ghana indicate that beneficiaries of the program do not invest significantly more in SWC. This suggests that policies should not expect farmers to respond to fertilizer subsidies with substantial investment in SWC. Thus, in order to achieve increased investment in SWC for sustainable agricultural development, more comprehensive measures that include fertilizer investments explicitly (such as integrated soil fertility management programs) may be needed.

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  • Vondolia, Godwin Kofi & Eggert, Håkan & Stage, Jesper, "undated". "Nudging Boserup? The Impact of Fertilizer Subsidies on Investment in Soil and Water Conservation," Discussion Papers dp-12-08-efd, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-12-08-efd

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ragasa, Catherine & Dankyi, Awere & Acheampong, Patricia & Wiredu, Alexander Nimo & Chapoto, Antony & Asamoah, Marian & Tripp, Robert, 2013. "Patterns of adoption of improved rice technologies in Ghana:," GSSP working papers 35, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Houssou, Nazaire & Andam, Kwaw S. & Collins, Asante-Addo, 2017. "Can better targeting improve the effectiveness of Ghana's Fertilizer Subsidy Program? Lessons from Ghana and other countries in Africa south of the Sahara," IFPRI discussion papers 1605, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Levine, N. Kendra & Mason, Nicole M. & Morgan, Stephen N., 2016. "Do input subsidies crowd in or crowd out other soil fertility management practices? Panel survey evidence from Zambia," 2016 AAAE Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 246393, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).

    More about this item


    soil and water conservation; soil fertility; fertilizer subsidy; endogenous switching;

    JEL classification:

    • N57 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Africa; Oceania
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy


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