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Agricultural Transformation and Farmers' Expectations: Experimental Evidence from Uganda


  • Bonan, Jacopo
  • Kazianga, Harounan
  • Mendola, Mariapia


Why adoption rate of potentially profitable agricultural technologies in Africa remains low is still puzzling. This paper uses a randomized control trial to study Ugandan subsistence smallholders' decisions to adopt cash crops. A unique way of eliciting farmers price and yield expectations allows us to investigate the role of farmers' ex-ante beliefs about crop profitability on adoption decisions. We find that the provision of extension services increases oilseeds adoption by 15%, and farmers who under-estimate oilseeds price at baseline are the most likely to adopt the new crops. The results suggest that changes in expectations drive agricultural technology take-up.

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  • Bonan, Jacopo & Kazianga, Harounan & Mendola, Mariapia, 2020. "Agricultural Transformation and Farmers' Expectations: Experimental Evidence from Uganda," GLO Discussion Paper Series 456, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:456

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dean Karlan & Robert Osei & Isaac Osei-Akoto & Christopher Udry, 2014. "Agricultural Decisions after Relaxing Credit and Risk Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 597-652.
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    3. Jacopo Bonan & Laura Pagani, 2018. "Junior Farmer Field Schools, Agricultural Knowledge and Spillover Effects: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Northern Uganda," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(11), pages 2007-2022, November.
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    6. Paulina Oliva & B. Kelsey Jack & Samuel Bell & Elizabeth Mettetal & Christopher Severen, 2020. "Technology Adoption under Uncertainty: Take-Up and Subsequent Investment in Zambia," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 617-632, July.
    7. McKenzie, David & Gibson, John & Stillman, Steven, 2013. "A land of milk and honey with streets paved with gold: Do emigrants have over-optimistic expectations about incomes abroad?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 116-127.
    8. Shawn A. Cole & A. Nilesh Fernando, 2012. "‘Mobile’izing Agricultural Advice: Technology Adoption, Diffusion and Sustainability," Harvard Business School Working Papers 13-047, Harvard Business School, revised Mar 2016.
    9. Jenny C. Aker, 2010. "Information from Markets Near and Far: Mobile Phones and Agricultural Markets in Niger," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 46-59, July.
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    11. Ambler, Kate & de Brauw, Alan & Godlonton, Susan, 2018. "Agriculture support services in Malawi: Direct effects, complementarities, and time dynamics:," IFPRI discussion papers 1725, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    12. Maha Ashour & Daniel Orth Gilligan & Jessica Blumer Hoel & Naureen Iqbal Karachiwalla, 2019. "Do Beliefs About Herbicide Quality Correspond with Actual Quality in Local Markets? Evidence from Uganda," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(6), pages 1285-1306, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Islam, Asadul & Ushchev, Philip & Zenou, Yves & Zhang, Xin, 2019. "The Value of Information in Technology Adoption," IZA Discussion Papers 12672, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item


    Technology Adoption; Commercial Farming; Randomized Controlled Trial; Uganda;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Q14 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Finance
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services

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