Do the benefits of improved management practices to nutritional outcomes “dry up” in the presence of drought? Evidence from East Africa

Jonathan Malacarne, Laura Paul
Food Policy 2022 (link)

Using a panel of nearly 3000 agricultural households in Tanzania and Mozambique from 2016–2018, this paper investigates the associations of nutritional outcomes and agricultural management practices under drought risk. We show drought has significant consequences on two nutritional outcomes in particular: food security and dietary diversity. Importantly, these consequences are evident even for households using improved management practices, such as improved seed, chemical fertilizer, and production diversity. This finding has important implications in the context of how policy makers use the tools at their disposal – including both promotion of improved agricultural management practices and direct transfers – to prevent costly coping strategies that reduce future resilience.

Challenges in Recruiting U.S. Farmers for Policy-Relevant Economic Field Experiments
Collin Weigel, Laura A. Paul, Paul J. Ferraro, and Kent D. Messer
Applied Economics Policy and Perspectives 2020 (link)

To develop evidence‐based agricultural policies, researchers increasingly use insights from economic field experiments. These insights are often limited by the challenges of recruiting large and representative samples of farmers. To improve the effectiveness and cost efficiency of farmer recruitment, researchers should apply the same experimental methods to the recruitment process that they apply to their main research questions. Here we experimentally evaluate ten recruiting strategies in two large‐scale, high stakes experiments. We find that monetary incentives and reminders are effective, but costly. Costless strategies, such as prominently citing a well‐known institution as the sponsor, had positive but small, effects on recruitment.

Conditional and Unconditional Yield Gains from Drought-Tolerant Maize and the Economic Implications for Farmers in Southern and Eastern Africa
Laura Paul
European Review of Agricultural Economics 2021 (link)

This paper assesses the return to DT maize using four years of data from on-farm yield trials and high-resolution precipitation data (10-day measurements at a 0.05° resolution) in southern Africa to assess claims of the DT maize advantage. On farms (rather than controlled trials) DT maize yield slightly exceeds that of other varieties: 7% higher yields on average, and 15% higher yields under moderate drought stress with additional heterogeneity in returns across high and low performing farms. For low-performing farms, a net loss of $10/ha of DT maize increases to a net gain of $30/ha in a drought year.

Demand for an Environmental Public Good in the Time of COVID-19: A Statewide Water Quality Referendum
George Parsons, Laura Paul, and Kent Messer
Journal of Benefit Cost Analysis

Due to COVID-19, many households faced new hardships due to a rapid increase in unemployment, an uncertain economic future, and a forced separation from friends and loved ones. Yet, during this same time period, an unprecedented number of people recreated outside — as it was one of the few activities still permitted. How these various experiences impact the public’s willing to pay for environmental public goods is unknown. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we conducted a stated preference survey and found that while nearly 90% of participants report experiencing hardship, only 3% said it reduced their willingness to pay for water quality improvements and the aggregate WTP remained unchanged.

Nudge or Sludge? An Experimental Game Illustrating How Misunderstood Scientific Information Can Change Consumer Behavior

Laura Paul, Maik Kecinski, Kent Messer, and Olesya Savchenko

Under Review

Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept Measures Produce Consistent Marginal Effects and Evidence of the Framing Effect

Tongzhe Li, Laura Paul, Kent D. Messer, and Harry Kaiser

Bundling Stress Tolerant Seeds and Insurance for More Resilient and Productive Small-Scale Agriculture

NBER Working Paper No. 29234 (link)

Steve Boucher, Michael Carter, Jon Einar Flatnes, Travis Lybbert, Jonathan Malacarne, Paswel Marenya, and Laura Paul