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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Vulnerability, Risk Management, and Agricultural Development

  • Author(s): Fafchamps, Marcel
  • et al.

For many poor farmers in developing countries, vulnerability to risk is a dominant feature of their livelihoods. Households' desires to protect themselves against shocks is thought to affect their production and savings decisions. Farmers who are fearful of future loss of earnings may be reluctant to adopt technological innovations with a variable or unknown return. This paper examines the relationship between agricultural development, vulnerability to shocks, and the risk management practices of small farmers in developing countries. It finds that adoption of new agricultural inputs and practices is a combination of both rational and behavioral motives, with peer effects appearing more important through studies of social networks and reinforcement and diffusion effects.

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