Berkeley ECON 231 - Understanding Technology Adoption (32 pages)

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Understanding Technology Adoption



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Understanding Technology Adoption

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Pages:
32
School:
University of California, Berkeley
Course:
Econ 231 - Seminar in Public Sector Economics

Unformatted text preview:

Understanding Technology Adoption Fertilizer in Western Kenya Evidence from Field Experiments PRELIMINARY AND INCOMPLETE April 14 2006 Esther Duflo Michael Kremer and Jonathan Robinson MIT NBER CEPR and BREAD Harvard University NBER and BREAD and Princeton University Abstract The question of the determinants of the adoption of new technology in agriculture is of central interest to both academics and policy makers In this paper we report the results from a unique set of field experiments conducted in Western Kenya over five years which were designed to investigate a range of hypotheses on the determinants and barriers to the adoption of a profitable technology In the experiments meaningful programs expected to have an effect on the adoption of fertilizer under alternative hypotheses were proposed to randomly selected groups of farmers We find that while know how plays a role and can partly be overcome other factors such as the inability to save over even short periods of time may be even stronger impediments 1 Introduction Maize is the staple food in most of Eastern and Southern Africa Although a relatively new crop the production of maize has expanded so fast that maize has become the dominant food crop in that region In Kenya maize accounts for 80 of the national production of cereals Hassan 1998 p 164 and provides 40 of calorie consumption for Kenyans who consume more than 125 kilograms of maize per person each year Byerlee 1997 p 16 Maize is also a crop which has been subject to relatively successful technological improvements such as the use of fertilizer and new hybrid seeds In developing countries outside of Africa the 1 use of fertilizer accounted for 50 75 increase in the crop yields from the mid 1960s Viyas 1983 Many believed that this new technology in maize production with its high yield potential would lead Africa to replicate the success of Asia s Green Revolution However this hope did not materialize Fertilizer use in Africa is still very low and has



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