Land, Labor and Technology: Essays in Development Economics

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Land, Labor and Technology: Essays in Development Economics

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Title: Land, Labor and Technology: Essays in Development Economics
Author: Fernando, Asanga Nilesh
Citation: Fernando, Asanga Nilesh. 2015. Land, Labor and Technology: Essays in Development Economics. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
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Abstract: Many of the world's rural poor make a living from agriculture. Consequently, the productivity of agriculture and non-agricultural employment opportunities are important determinants of rural poverty and the subject matter of the three essays in this dissertation. The first chapter in this dissertation estimates the long-term causal effect of inheriting land in rural India. Using quasi-experimental methods, I find that inheriting land greatly influences occupational trajectories and can suppress consumption to an extent that may overwhelm its direct benefit. The second chapter uses a field experiment to understand whether barriers to information influence agricultural productivity. We find that the introduction of a mobile phone-based agricultural information service greatly influences reported sources of information, input adoption decisions and agricultural productivity. The final chapter studies the effect of the external provision of agricultural information on social interactions and agricultural outcomes in village India. Using a field experiment, I find that the introduction of a mobile phone-based agricultural extension service influences the structure and content of social interactions with peers both within and outside the original study population. Respondents receiving valuable agricultural information are more likely to interact with their peers and share information from the service. These changes in social interactions also influence the agricultural outcomes of peers. These results suggest that technological innovations may increase the returns to in-person exchange of information and, in so doing, influence agricultural outcomes.
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Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:17467235
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