Essays on Agricultural Technology Adoption, Value Chain Development, and Intra-Household Decision-Making
von Cansin Arslan
Datum der mündl. Prüfung:2020-07-15
Betreuer:Prof. Dr. Meike Wollni
Gutachter:Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim
Gutachter:Prof. Dr. Sebastian Vollmer
EnglischWhile considerable progress has been made over the last 30 years in poverty reduction, about ten percent of the people in the world still live in extreme poverty. It is the field of economics that formulate theories, devise methods, and make empirical analyses that inform policies and practices to reduce poverty and improve welfare in developing countries. This dissertation consists of three essays at the intersection of development and agricultural economics. Each essay has its own introduction, methods, results, and conclusion section. The essays share a common ground in that they are based on primary data collected from smallholder coffee-growing households in eastern Uganda. Approximately 80 percent of the extreme poor live in rural areas and growth in agriculture sector is found to be more poverty-reducing than other sectors in poorest countries. The first essay of this dissertation relates to commonly identified informational barriers to agricultural technology adoption which is associated with agricultural growth. In particular, the essay explores the role of the communicator of information in agricultural extension by testing the effectiveness of two approaches. In the first approach a peer farmer supports an extension worker whereas in the second approach a high-status market actor supports an extension worker in communicating information to farmers. Results show larger effects on improved harvest practices if the extension worker is supported by a peer farmer and that farmers who receive information both from an extension worker and a market actor participate more in high-value markets. Additionally, we show that harvest quality and participation in high-value markets lead to higher coffee revenues for farmers. In the second essay, the phenomenon of value-degrading in the coffee value chain is examined. Coffee growing households regularly undertake home-processing of coffee cherries harvested fresh and sell parchment coffee: an activity that is commonly regarded as value-adding. This essay shows that parchment production is, in fact, a value degrading activity that generates a considerable potential profit loss for households selling large amounts of parchment. Our results indicate that efforts for value upgrading through processing of fresh produce in agri-food markets can also generate a value reduction and should integrate relevant characteristics of the value chain, such as quality-assurance. The current way in which poverty is measured does not allow for an accurate understanding of individual poverty, as it assumes equal distribution of resources within household members. Yet, the effectiveness of development interventions, such as value chain development and income transfers depend on how household members with differing preferences make decisions regarding household income. In the third essay of this dissertation we study decision-making about resources within the household. In particular, employing the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak (BDM) mechanism, we elicit the willingness of women and men to pay (WTP) to receive a small cash transfer in private (secret from their spouse) instead of in front of their spouse. Our results show that participants are willing to give up on average half of the endowment to receive it in private. Exploring the drivers of WTP, a negative and significant relationship is documented between willingness to hide income and women’s empowerment (say in household decisions), frequency of conflict and aggression in the household, and membership in savings groups. Results also suggest that household members may be hiding money to alter resource allocations to their favour and not necessarily in a way that maximises household welfare. In order to produce these three essays I conducted a field work of 15 months in Uganda. In particular, I implemented two different field experiments, i.e., one randomised controlled trial (RCT) and a separate lab-in-the-field experiment, and collected data through interview-based surveys with smallholder coffee growers in the Mt. Elgon Region of Uganda. In total, I carried out three surveys: one baseline and one follow-up survey for the RCT with around 1600 farmers for the first and second essay, and one additional survey with a sub-sample of 422 of these farmers for the third essay.
Keywords: Agricultural Technology Adoption; Value Chains; Household Behaviour