WIDER Seminar Series

Jakob Svensson on the low quality trap: evidence from the market for maize in Uganda

Jakob Svensson will present at the WIDER Seminar Series on 16 October 2019. 

Abstract - The low quality trap: evidence from the market for maize in Uganda

Agriculture remains the main source of income for the large majority of the world’s poor. Yet over the past 50 years agricultural yields have been low and slow growing in many parts of the developing world, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Intensity of input application, including improved seed varieties and fertilizer, has similarly been low and stagnant.

A key prediction of the neoclassical agriculture household model is that the farmer will set the intensity of use of any particular input until its marginal value product equal its marginal cost. In such a model, prices provide a key explanation for the pattern of low yields, and low quality. This paper takes the implication of the neoclassical agriculture household model as a starting point to investigate how output prices are set on local markets.

Working with a start-up firm we investigate whether paying for quality, with the quality premium determined by market conditions, can induce changes in farmer behavior that in turn affect both quality and quantity?

About the speaker 

Jakob Svensson is the director, and a professor of economics, at the Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University. Jakob's current research focuses on experimental work on technology adoption, input and output market constraints in agricultural markets, as well as climate and development. He is also affiliated with the Centre for Economic Policy Research, European Development Research Network, Poverty Action Lab, and the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development.

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases recent and ongoing work on key topics in development economics. The weekly sessions held in Helsinki are open to local and visiting researchers, policy makers, and others interested in development topics. Click here to learn more.

Seminars will be live streamed on Facebook and recordings and presentations will be available after the event here.

For more information email tomi@wider.unu.edu