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Fact or artefact : the impact of measurement errors on the farm size - productivity relationship

  • Carletto, Calogero
  • Savastano, Sara
  • Zezza, Alberto

This paper revisits the role of land measurement error in the inverse farm size and productivity relationship. By making use of data from a nationally representative household survey from Uganda, in which self-reported land size information is complemented by plot measurements collected using Global Position System devices, the authors reject the hypothesis that the inverse relationship may just be a statistical artifact linked to problems with land measurement error. In particular, the paper explores: (i) the determinants of the bias in land measurement, (ii) how this bias varies systematically with plot size and landholding, and (iii) the extent to which land measurement error affects the relative advantage of smallholders implied by the inverse relationship. The findings indicate that using an improved measure of land size strengthens the evidence in support of the existence of the inverse relationship.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5908.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5908
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  1. Feder, Gershon, 1985. "The relation between farm size and farm productivity : The role of family labor, supervision and credit constraints," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2-3), pages 297-313, August.
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  8. Javier Escobal & Sonia Laszlo, 2008. "Measurement Error in Access to Markets," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(2), pages 209-243, 04.
  9. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David, 2007. "Using the global positioning system in household surveys for better economics and better policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4195, The World Bank.
  10. Michael Kevane, 1996. "Agrarian Structure and Agricultural Practice: Typology and Application to Western Sudan," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(1), pages 236-245.
  11. Barrett, Christopher B., 1996. "On price risk and the inverse farm size-productivity relationship," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 193-215, December.
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  13. Bhalla, Surjit S & Roy, Prannoy L, 1988. "Mis-specification in Farm Productivity Analysis: The Role of Land Quality," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(1), pages 55-73, March.
  14. Assuncao, Juliano J. & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2003. "Can unobserved heterogeneity in farmer ability explain the inverse relationship between farm size and productivity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 189-194, August.
  15. Carter, Michael R, 1984. "Identification of the Inverse Relationship between Farm Size and Productivity: An Empirical Analysis of Peasant Agricultural Production," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 131-45, March.
  16. Lau, Lawrence J & Yotopoulos, Pan A, 1971. "A Test for Relative Efficiency and Application to Indian Agriculture," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 94-109, March.
  17. John Gibson & David McKenzie, 2007. "Using the Global Positioning System (GPS) in Household Surveys For Better Economics and Better Policy," Working Papers in Economics 07/04, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
  18. Binswanger, Hans P. & Deininger, Klaus & Feder, Gershon, 1995. "Power, distortions, revolt and reform in agricultural land relations," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 42, pages 2659-2772 Elsevier.
  19. Eastwood, Robert & Lipton, Michael & Newell, Andrew, 2010. "Farm Size," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, Elsevier.
  20. Zaibet, Lokman T & Dunn, Elizabeth G, 1998. "Land Tenure, Farm Size, and Rural Market Participation in Developing Countries: The Case of the Tunisian Olive Sector," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(4), pages 831-48, July.
  21. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1986. "Access to Capital and Agrarian Production Organisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(382), pages 482-98, June.
  22. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1985. "A Theory of Contractual Structure in Agriculture," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 352-67, June.
  23. Udry, Christopher, 1996. "Gender, Agricultural Production, and the Theory of the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1010-46, October.
  24. Benjamin, Dwayne, 1995. "Can unobserved land quality explain the inverse productivity relationship?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 51-84, February.
  25. Deininger, Klaus & Carletto, Calogero & Savastano, Sara & Muwonge, James, 2011. "Can diaries help improve agricultural production statistics ? Evidence from Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5717, The World Bank.
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