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Imperfect information and learning: Evidence from cotton cultivation in Pakistan

Amal Ahmad ()
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Amal Ahmad: Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers from University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics

Abstract: Information problems are pervasive in developing economies and can hinder pro- ductivity growth. This paper studies how much rural producers in developing countries can learn from their own experience to redress important informa- tion gaps. It builds a model of learning from experience and applies it using a rich dataset on cotton farmers in Pakistan. I test whether farmers learn from cultivation experience about the pest resistance of their seeds and use this in- formation to improve selection and productivity. I find no such learning effect and this conclusion is robust to several parameters that could signal learning. The findings document the difficulty of parsing out and processing information from cultivation experience alone and point to the importance of information provision to producers by the government or external agencies.

Date: 2021
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-dev and nep-isf
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