Gender-specific Risk Preferences and Fertilizer Use in Kenyan Farming Households

The adoption of new technologies, such as fertilizer, plays an important role in improving agricultural production in Africa. Fertilizer is a risky input and its adoption by farmers is often very low. Farmers’ risk attitudes are often considered to be the reason behind low fertilizer adoption. Typical empirical research ignores the family dynamics that affects household’s agricultural choices. This paper uses a collective household model to estimate the effects of experimentally derived risk preferences of both spouses in farming households interacted with relative women’s bargaining power on fertilizer use. We find that empowered females who are more risk and loss averse use less fertilizer, than disempowered females in collective households. More loss averse male household heads opt for using more affordable type of fertilizer to avoid higher losses in the event of a negative shock. More risk averse and loss averse female household heads are also less likely to use riskier types of fertilizer.

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JEL Codes:
O13; O14; O33; O55

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2019-08-30

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