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Agricultural transformation and value chain development:Lessons from Randomized Control TrialsIpa ecama presentation

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Agricultural transformation and value chain development:Lessons from Randomized Control TrialsIpa ecama presentation

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Presented by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA)

Presented at 2015 ECAMA Research Symposium

Malawi Institute of Management (MIM), 4-5 June, 2015

Presented by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA)

Presented at 2015 ECAMA Research Symposium

Malawi Institute of Management (MIM), 4-5 June, 2015

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Agricultural transformation and value chain development:Lessons from Randomized Control TrialsIpa ecama presentation

  1. 1. Agricultural transformation and value chain development: Lessons from Randomized Control Trials
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  4. 4. The Problem Understand market failures Develop innovations Use frontier knowledge from economics, political science and psychology Impact evaluations (Randomized control trials) Product design tests Operational research Test in multiple contexts Learn when to do what Conferences, global and local Workshops with policy makers and practitioners Policy memos and practitioner briefs Direct implementation Hands-on technical assistance Practitioners’ toolkits
  5. 5. Our solution • In our evaluations we only use randomized control trials (RCTs) – Random samples – Randomized groups: treatment, control groups – “Treatments” (e.g. different discounts on fertilizer, different microcredit products) • Why use RCTs? – Reduces selection bias – Measures what we want to measure and isolates “disturbing” factors – Most reliable method of evaluation So why are we interested in agricultural technology? How is agriculture related to poverty? 5
  6. 6. Over 450 projects in 51 countries 6
  7. 7. 7
  8. 8. IPA’s comparative advantage • Research for impact: We make research results actionable. • Experts in evaluation: We are the largest implementer of randomized evaluations in the development field. • Deep local presence: Allows us to cultivate deep relationships needed for policy and research oversight. • Long term partnerships: We bring together researchers and decision makers to create and utilize innovative solutions that are relevant to the needs of the poor and based on evidence. 8
  9. 9. Our 10 years have taught us … • Need local research infrastructure. • Providing direct services can conflict with our role. • Influencing policy requires more than communications. • Requires deep relationships and local understanding and context. • Need to replicate results to different contexts and understand operational challenges. 9
  10. 10. Our Impact • Large-scale influence • Evaluation partners make decisions based on study results • Other organizations adapt evidence • Global debates are influenced • Evidence-based decision making culture or institutions 10 Over 40 million children dewormed
  11. 11. Randomized Controlled Trials 11
  12. 12. Agricultural Transformation: Seeking Solutions 12 Agricultural yields are higher in some regions than in others. Sub-Saharan Africa almost stagnating. World Development Report (2008)
  13. 13. Need for Evidence… Value Chain Breakdown? 13 The Organic Business Guide
  14. 14. A Well-Timed Nudge • Increasing fertilizer use: are high-cost subsidy programs the only way to go? 14
  15. 15. A Well-Timed Nudge • IPA Researchers (Duflo et al, 2010) studied the effect of the Savings and Fertilizer Initiative (SAFI) in Western Kenya. 15
  16. 16. A Well-Timed Nudge • Enabling farmers to prepay for fertilizer when they had cash on hand was effective in promoting fertilizer adoption. 16
  17. 17. Impact of Friends • Impaction Technology Adoption: can social networks work? • Working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security IPA Researches (Beaman, et al) helped identify seed farmers (local farmers trained by Agricultural Extension Development Officers) based upon their connections in the community 17
  18. 18. Impact of Friends • Significant adoption of new agricultural technology (pit planting) in seasons two and three in network- targeted villages (61.4-79.5%) verse comparison villages (4.4%). 18
  19. 19. Fingerprinting to Reduce Risky Borrowing • If we see something that works, why not implement that program fully? 19
  20. 20. Fingerprinting to Reduce Risky Borrowing A 2008 study (Yang, et al, 2012) in Malawi found that fingerprinting identification for microloans caused high- risk borrowers to take out smaller loans and improve their repayment behavior (lowered default) 20
  21. 21. References for Studies Cited • A Gentle Nudge: – Policy Brief: http://www.povertyactionlab.org/publication/well- timed-nudge – Paper: http://economics.mit.edu/files/6170 • Impact of Social Networks: – Overview: http://www.povertyactionlab.org/evaluation/making- networks-work-policy-evidence-agricultural-technology- adoption-malawi • Fingerprinting to Reduce Risky Borrowing: – Policy Brief: http://www.povertyactionlab.org/publication/fingerprinting- reduce-risky-borrowing – Paper: http://sites.lsa.umich.edu/deanyang/wp- content/uploads/sites/205/2014/12/gine-goldberg-yang- fingerprinting.pdf 21
  22. 22. More to come • IPA is continuously conducting new evaluations and studies that add to our knowledge about agricultural development • Our latest work and ongoing research projects can be found online: 22
  23. 23. Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI) • Our partner organizations J-PAL and CEGA are conducting a range of studies to identify barriers to technology adoption and potential solutions 23

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