Contract Farming and Food Security

My coauthor and doctoral student Lindsey Novak and I have recently revised our paper titled “Contract Farming and Food Security.” Here is the abstract:

Contract farming has often been associated with an increase in the income of participating households. It is unclear, however, whether contract farming increases other aspects of household welfare. We use data from six regions of Madagascar and a selection-on-observables design in which we control for a household’s marginal utility of participating in contract farming, which we elicited via a contingent valuation experiment, to show that participating in contract farming reduces the duration of a household’s hungry season by about eight days on average. Further, participation in contract farming makes participating households about 18 percent more likely to see their hungry season end at any point in time. Further, we find that these effects are more pronounced for households with a larger number of children, and for households with a larger number of girls. This is an important result as children—especially girls—often bear the burden of food insecurity.

The study of contract farming has been the gift that keeps on giving. Every time I think I am done with contract farming, I find the topic pulling me back in. I thought this was going to be the last paper I would write on the topic, but it turns out I have at least two more ideas for papers on contract farming, which I hope to get around to writing sometime over the next few years.

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