Production risk and adoption of irrigation technology: evidence from small-scale farmers in Chile

In most developing countries non-irrigation status often dominates adoption of traditional and modern irrigation technology. In this paper, César Salazar and John Rand study the effect of production risk on irrigation technology choice among small-scale farmers in Chile, applying sample selection and discrete choice models. We find that more educated farmers, with credit access, receiving extension services, and living in communes with more adopters are more likely to use modern irrigation techniques. Moreover, production risk is often associated with adoption of traditional irrigation, and this risk often undermines a shift to more modern irrigation systems. Controlling for pre-conditions that determine irrigation choices clearly improves our understanding of small-scale farmer irrigation adoption decisions and we argue that weaker knowledge about and lower automatic diffusion of modern irrigation is a main obstacle for improving small-scale farmer productivity.

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Latin American Economic Review aims to be the leading general interest journal on topics relevant to Latin America. The journal welcomes high-quality theoretical and quantitative papers on economic, social and political-economy issues with a regional focus. Articles presenting new data bases or describing structural reforms within a rigorous theoretical framework will also be considered. A few (illustrative) examples of topics that may be of special interest to this journal include: inflation, informal sector, corruption, crime, drug policy, unions, social exclusion, price controls, energy and environmental policy, natural resources, and technology transfer.

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