Economics Research Seminar | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University

Economics Research Seminar

Rural Roads, Argricultural Extension, and Productivity

Abstract: Low agricultural productivity is a persistent challenge for developing economies. Two policy inno-vations that have attracted significant attention include the expansion of rural roads and agricultural extension services that facilitate access to technologies and inputs. However, the studies that examine each of these policies in isolation provide mixed evidence on their effectiveness. This paper shows that it is important to consider roads and extension simultaneously due to the strong complementarities between the two factors. I study the concurrent but independently implemented expansion of rural roads and extension in Ethiopia to examine how access to markets and technologies affect productiv-ity when available in isolation and together. Using geo-spatial data combined with large surveys and exploiting the staggered roll-out of the two programs, I show that there are strong complementarities between roads and extension. While ineffective in isolation, access to both a road and extension in-creases productivity by 11%. I find that roads and extension improve productivity by facilitating the take up of agricultural advice, credit and modern inputs such as chemical fertilizers. Furthermore, households adjust crop choices and shift across occupations in response to their changing compara-tive advantages in access to markets and technologies. Overall, while extension and roads increase farm income on average, the gains are concentrated in the villages that have access to both factors.

Please join the Economics Department for a research seminar.  This event is open to all Case Western Reserve University faculty, Ph.D. students, economic majors and minors, and those interested in economics research.

Contact Information:
Teresa Kabat 

Monday, Feb. 4, 2019 from 10:30 a.m. to noon
Peter B. Lewis Building, Room 02
11119 Bellflower Road
Cleveland, OH 44106-7235
United States
Speaker(s): Mesay M. Gebresilasse, Boston University, Ph.D. Candidate
Sponsored by: Economics Department
Rural Roads, Agricultural Extension, and Productivity


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