Improving productivity in developing countries

Professor Orazio Attanasio, Institute for Fiscal Studies

Start date: Mar 2012   |   End date: Aug 2015

Research Councils UK project page

There is much evidence to show that productivity in developing countries can be extremely low, particularly for agricultural activities. Often, policy makers, practitioners and researchers have identified simple innovations and investment opportunities that would greatly improve productivity and offer a substantial rate of return but yet do not get adopted.

The aim of this research is to identify imperfections and frictions that prevent the adoption of profitable technology and innovations or, more generally, that may impede investment opportunities with a potentially high rate of return. To achieve this, the research will use data that have been collected to evaluate a number of interventions in developing countries in order to estimate models of individual behaviour and investment choices. There will be four different projects, covering parts of Africa, India, and Pakistan.

The use of different methods, ranging from impact evaluation to the estimation of economic (structural) models of behaviour will allow one to understand the mechanisms at play, and also for the extrapolation of what is learnt in a given context to a variety of different situations. This research is crucial for the design of policies aimed at improving productivity.