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American Economic Review: Vol. 103 No. 3 (May 2013)

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Profitability of Fertilizer: Experimental Evidence from Female Rice Farmers in Mali

Article Citation

Beaman, Lori, Dean Karlan, Bram Thuysbaert, and Christopher Udry. 2013. "Profitability of Fertilizer: Experimental Evidence from Female Rice Farmers in Mali." American Economic Review, 103(3): 381-86.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.381

Abstract

We conducted an experiment providing fertilizer grants to female rice farmers in Mali. We found that women who received fertilizer used both more fertilizer and more complementary inputs such as herbicides and hired labor. This shows that farmers respond to an increase in one input by re-optimizing other inputs. Second, while the increase in inputs led to a considerable increase in output, we found no evidence that profits increased. Our results suggest that fertilizer's impact on profits is small compared to other sources of variation. This may make it difficult for farmers to learn about the returns to fertilizer.

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Author Disclosure Statement(s) (135.84 KB) | Online Appendix (136.04 KB) | Download Data Set (29.06 KB)

Authors

Beaman, Lori (Northwestern U)
Karlan, Dean (Yale U)
Thuysbaert, Bram (Innovations for Poverty Action, Paris)
Udry, Christopher (Yale U)

JEL Classifications

J16: Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
O13: Economic Development: Agriculture; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Other Primary Products
Q12: Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
Q16: Agricultural R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services


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