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LSMS-ISA: Publications

Living Standards Measurement Study: Integrated Surveys on Agriculture: About LSMS-ISA

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Publications

LSMS-ISA: Men working in the field

Research and Dissemination

The lack of analytical capacity in many countries has created a vicious cycle of poor analysis undermining the demand for high-quality data. As a result, the quality and quantity of agricultural data have seldom matched their importance in policy-making. A key objective of the LSMS-ISA project is the timely and open dissemination of all research papers and publications produced under the project. Many of these current and future LSMS-ISA publications follow directly from the research priorities defined by the Global Strategy to Improve Agriculture and Rural Statistics endorsed by the United Nations Statistics Commission, with the ultimate goal of revitalizing the research agenda on agricultural statistics from household surveys.

Papers

LSMS-ISA: Publication

Does Livestock Ownership Affect Animal Source Foods Consumption and Child Nutritional Status? Evidence from Rural Uganda

by Carlo Azzarri, Elizabeth Cross, Beliyou Haile, and Alberto Zezza
November 2014

In many developing countries, consumption of animal source foods among the poor is still at a level where increasing its share in total caloric intake may have many positive nutritional benefits. This paper explores whether ownership of various livestock species increases consumption of animal source foods and helps improve child nutritional status. The paper finds some evidence that food consumption patterns and nutritional outcomes may be affected by livestock ownership in rural Uganda. The results are suggestive that promoting (small) livestock ownership has the potential to affect human nutrition in rural Uganda, but further research is needed to estimate more precisely the direction and size of these effects.


LSMS-ISA: Publication

Milking the Data: Measuring Income from Milk Production in Extensive Livestock Systems: Experimental Evidence from Niger

by Alberto Zezza, Giovanni Federighi, Kalilou Adamou, and Pierre Hiernaux
November 2014

Milk is an important source of cash and nutrients for many households in developing countries. Yet, the understanding of the role of dairy production in livelihoods and nutritional outcomes is hindered by the lack of decent quality household survey data. Data on milk off-take for human consumption are difficult to collect in household surveys for several reasons that make accurate recall challenging for the respondent (continuous production and seasonality, among others). As a result, the quantification and valuation of milk off-take is particularly difficult in household surveys, introducing possibly severe biases in the computation of full household incomes and farm sales, as well as in the estimation of the contribution of livestock (specifically dairy) production in agricultural value added and the livelihoods of rural households. This paper presents results from a validation exercise implemented in Niger, where alternative survey instruments based on recall methods were administered to randomly selected households and compared with a 12-month system of physical monitoring and recording of milk production. The results of the exercise show that reasonably accurate estimates via recall methods are possible and provide a clear ranking of questionnaire design options that can inform future survey operations.


Agriculture in Africa: Telling Facts from Myths

Income Diversification Patterns in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa: Reassessing the Evidence

by Benjamin Davis, Stefania Di Giuseppe, and Alberto Zezza
November 2014

Produced under the Agriculture in Africa: Telling Facts from Myths project

Is Africa's rural economy transforming as its economies grow? This paper uses comparable income aggregates from 41 national household surveys from 22 countries to explore the extent of income diversification among rural households in Sub-Saharan Africa, and to look at how income diversification in Sub-Saharan Africa compares with other regions, taking into account differences in levels of development. The paper also seeks to understand how geography drives income diversification, focusing on the role of agricultural potential and distance to urban areas. The countries in the African sample have higher shares of on-farm income (63 versus 33 percent) and lower shares on nonagricultural wage income (8 and 21 percent) compared with countries of other regions. Specialization in on-farm activities continues to be the norm in rural Africa (52 percent of households, 21 percent in other regions). In terms of welfare, specialization in nonagricultural income-generating activities stochastically dominates farm-based strategies in all of the countries in our African sample. Crop income is still important for welfare, however, and even at higher levels of household income, crop activities continue to play an important complementary role. Regardless of distance and integration in the urban context, when agro-climatic conditions are favorable, farming remains the occupation of choice for most households in the African countries for which the study has geographically explicit information. When urban integration is low and agricultural conditions more difficult, the picture is mixed, with households more likely to engage more fully in nonfarm activities in Niger and Malawi, but less likely to do so in Uganda and Tanzania.

  • Watch the video accompanying this paper here.

LSMS-ISA: Publication

Can Agricultural Households Farm Their Way out of Poverty?

by Gbemisola Oseni, Kevin McGee, and Andrew Dabalen
November 2014

This paper examines the determinants of agricultural productivity and its link to poverty using nationally representative data from the Nigeria General Household Survey Panel, 2010/11. The findings indicate an elasticity of poverty reduction with respect to agricultural productivity of between 0.25 to 0.3 percent, implying that a 10 percent increase in agricultural productivity will decrease the likelihood of being poor by between 2.5 and 3 percent. To increase agricultural productivity, land, labor, fertilizer, agricultural advice, and diversification within agriculture are the most important factors. As commonly found in the literature, the results indicate the inverse-land size productivity relationship. More specifically, a 10 percent increase in harvested land size will decrease productivity by 6.6 percent, all else being equal. In a simulation exercise where land quality is assumed to be constant across small and large holdings, the results show that if farms in the top land quintile had half the median yield per hectare of farms in the lowest quintile, production of the top quintile would be 10 times higher. The higher overall values of harvests from larger land sizes are more likely because of cultivation of larger expanses of land, rather than from efficient production. It should be noted that having larger land sizes in itself is not positively correlated with a lower likelihood of being poor. This is not to say that having larger land sizes is not important for farming, but rather it indicates that increasing efficiency is the more important need that could lead to poverty reduction for agricultural households.


LSMS-ISA: Publication

The Impact of Household Food Consumption Data Collection Methods on Poverty and Inequality Measures in Niger

by Prospere Backiny-Yetna, Diane Steele, and Ismael Yacoubou Djima
November 2014

This paper assesses the impact of three methodologies of food data collection on the welfare distribution, and poverty and inequality measures in Niger. The first methodology is a 7-day recall period, the second one is a usual month, and the third one is a 7-day diary. The paper finds that there is a difference in the distribution of welfare between, on the one hand, the two first methodologies (7-day recall and a usual month, which give results close to each other) and, on the other hand, the 7-day diary method. When considering annual per capita consumption, the 7-day diary lags the 7-day recall by 28 percent. This gap is not only at the mean of the distribution, it has been found at any level. These differences lead to differences in poverty and inequality measures even when alternate poverty lines are used. This study underscores the problem that many developing countries face when it comes to monitoring poverty indicators over time where different methodologies have been used over the years.


Agriculture in Africa: Telling Facts from Myths

Agricultural Intensification: The Status in Six African Countries

by Hans Binswanger-Mkhize and Sara Savastano
November 2014

Produced under the Agriculture in Africa: Telling Facts from Myths project

The Boserup-Ruthenberg framework has long been used to explain and understand the determinants of agricultural growth, the nature of the intensification of farming systems, investment, and technology adoption. The literature has produced an extensive body of evidence that summarizes or tests the hypothesis in Africa and often found it confirmed. However, in the past two decades, rapid population growth has put African farming systems under stress. At the same time, there has been a sharp increase in urbanization and economic growth that is providing new market opportunities for farmers. It is therefore necessary to investigate whether this has resulted in rapid intensification of farming systems, permitting rapid agricultural growth and maintenance or increase in the incomes of the farming population. This paper describes the status of intensification in six African countries using the first round of data from the Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture. In addition, the paper (i) develops internationally comparable measures of overall agro-ecological crop potential and urban gravity in the farmers' location and (ii) estimates the causal impact of agro-ecological potential and urban gravity on population density, infrastructure, and market access and on a range of agricultural intensification variables. The paper shows that the new measures have relevant explanatory power. The descriptive analysis shows that the patterns of intensification observed across countries suggest several inconsistencies with Boserup-Ruthenberg. The paper also finds that urban gravity, except for its impact on crop intensities, has little impact on other intensification indicators.


Agriculture in Africa: Telling Facts from Myths

Agricultural Factor Markets in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Updated View with Formal Tests for Market Failure

by Brian Dillon and Christopher Barrett
November 2014

Produced under the Agriculture in Africa: Telling Facts from Myths project

This paper uses the recently collected Living Standard Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture Initiative data sets from five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to provide a comprehensive overview of land and labor market participation by agrarian households and to formally test for failures in factor markets. Under complete and competitive markets, households can solve their consumption and production problems separately, so that household factor endowments do not predict input demand. This paper implements a simple, theoretically grounded test of this separation hypothesis, which can be interpreted as a reduced form test of factor market failure. In all five study countries, the analysis finds strong evidence of factor market failure. Moreover, those failures appear general and structural, not specific to subpopulations defined by gender or geography.

  • Watch the video accompanying this paper here.

Agriculture in Africa: Telling Facts from Myths

Non-Farm Enterprises in Rural Africa: New Empirical Evidence

by Paula Nagler and Wim Naude
October 2014

Produced under the Agriculture in Africa: Telling Facts from Myths project

Although non-farm enterprises are ubiquitous in rural Sub-Saharan Africa, little is yet known about them. The motivation for households to operate enterprises, how productive they are, and why they exit the market are neglected questions. Drawing on the Living Standards Measurement Study -- Integrated Surveys on Agriculture and using discrete choice, selection model and panel data estimators, this paper provide answers using data from Ethiopia, Niger, Nigeria, Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda. The necessity to cope following shocks, seasonality in agriculture, and household size can push rural households into operating a non-farm enterprise. Households are also pulled into entrepreneurship to exploit opportunities. Access to credit and markets, household wealth, and the education and age of the household head are positively associated with the likelihood of operating an enterprise. The characteristics are also associated with the type of business activity a household operates. Rural and female-headed enterprises and enterprises with young enterprise owners are less productive than urban and male-owned enterprises and enterprises with older owners. Shocks have a negative association with enterprise operation and productivity and a large share of rural enterprises does not operate continuously over a year. Enterprises cease operations because of low profits, a lack of finance, or the effects of idiosyncratic shocks. Overall the findings are indicative that rural enterprises are "small businesses in a big continent" where large distances, rural isolation, low population density, and farming risks limit productivity and growth.

  • Watch the video accompanying this paper here.

Agriculture in Africa: Telling Facts from Myths

Understanding the Agricultural Input Landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa

by Megan Sheahan and Christopher Barrett
August 2014

Produced under the Agriculture in Africa: Telling Facts from Myths project

Conventional wisdom holds that Sub-Saharan African farmers use few modern inputs despite the fact that most growth-inducing and poverty-reducing agricultural growth in the region is expected to come largely from expanded use of inputs that embody improved technologies, particularly improved seed, fertilizers and other agro-chemicals, machinery, and irrigation. Yet following several years of high food prices, concerted policy efforts to intensify fertilizer and hybrid seed use, and increased public and private investment in agriculture, how low is modern input use in Africa really? This paper revisits Africa's agricultural input landscape, exploiting the unique, recently collected, nationally representative, agriculturally intensive, and cross-country comparable Living Standard Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture covering six countries in the region (Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda). The study uses data from more than 22,000 households and 62,000 plots to investigate a range of commonly held conceptions about modern input use in Africa, distilling the most striking and important findings into 10 key takeaway descriptive results.

  • Watch a powerpoint presentation on this paper here.

Agriculture in Africa: Telling Facts from Myths

The End of Seasonality? New Insights from Sub-Saharan Africa

by Jonathan Kaminski, Luc Christiaensen, and Christopher Gilbert
June 2014

Produced under the Agriculture in Africa: Telling Facts from Myths project

This paper revisits the extent of seasonality in African livelihoods, which has disappeared from Africa's development debate. Through econometric analysis of monthly food price series across 100 locations in three countries during 2000-12, it is shown that seasonal movements in maize wholesale prices explain 20 (Tanzania, Uganda) to 40 (Malawi) percent of their monthly volatility. Monthly maize peak prices are on average 30 (Tanzania, Uganda) to 50 (Malawi) percent higher than their monthly troughs and two to three times higher than the seasonal gaps observed for white maize at the South African Futures Exchange. Furthermore, household food consumption is found to inversely track food prices in each country, decreasing when staple prices increase and increasing when they decline. Clearly, (excess) seasonality in African food markets and consumption persists, necessitating policy attention.

  • Watch a powerpoint presentation on this paper here.
  • Watch the video accompanying this paper here.

Agriculture in Africa: Telling Facts from Myths

Post-Harvest Loss in Sub-Saharan Africa: What Do Farmers Say?

by Jonathan Kaminski and Luc Christiaensen
April 2014

Produced under the Agriculture in Africa: Telling Facts from Myths project

The 2007-2008 global food crisis has renewed interest in post-harvest loss, but estimates remain scarce, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper uses self-reported measures from nationally representative household surveys in Malawi, Uganda, and Tanzania. Overall, on-farm post-harvest loss adds to 1.4-5.9 percent of the national maize harvest, substantially lower than the Food and Agriculture Organization's post-harvest handling and storage loss estimate for cereals, which is 8 percent. Post-harvest loss is concentrated among less than a fifth of households. It increases with humidity and temperature and declines with better market access, post-primary education, higher seasonal price differences, and possibly improved storage practices. Wider use of nationally representative surveys in studying post-harvest loss is called for.

  • Watch the video accompanying this paper here.

LSMS-ISA: Publication

The Nexus between Gender, Collective Action for Public Goods, and Agriculture: Evidence from Malawi

by Nancy McCarthy and Talip Kilic
March 2014

Across the developing world, public goods exert significant impacts on the local rural economy in general and agricultural productivity and welfare outcomes in particular. Economic and social-cultural heterogeneity have, however, long been documented as detrimental to collective capacity to provide public goods. In particular, women are often under-represented in local leadership and decision-making processes, as are young adults and minority ethnic groups. While democratic principles dictate that broad civic engagement by women and other groups could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of local governance and increase public goods provision, the empirical evidence on these hypotheses is scant. This paper develops a theoretical model highlighting the complexity of constructing a "fair" schedule of individual contributions, given heterogeneity in costs and benefits that accrue to people depending, for instance, on their gender, age, ethnicity, and education. The model demonstrates that representative leadership and broad participation in community organizations can mitigate the negative impacts of heterogeneity on collective capacity to provide public goods. Nationally-representative household survey data from Malawi, combined with geospatial and administrative information, are used to test this hypothesis and estimate the relationship between collective capacity for public goods provision and community median estimates of maize yields and household consumption expenditures per capita. The analysis shows that similarities between the leadership and the general population, in terms of gender and age, and active participation by women and young adults in community groups alleviate the negative effects of heterogeneity and increase collective capacity, which in turn improves agricultural productivity and welfare.


LSMS-ISA: Publication

Decentralized Beneficiary Targeting in Large-Scale Development Programs: Insights from the Malawi Farm Input Subsidy Program

by Talip Kilic, Edward Whitney, and Paul Winters
November 2013

This paper contributes to the long-standing debate on the merits of decentralized beneficiary targeting in the administration of development programs, focusing on the large-scale Malawi Farm Input Subsidy Program. Nationally-representative household survey data are used to systematically analyze the decentralized targeting performance of the program during the 2009-2010 agricultural season. The analysis begins with a standard targeting assessment based on the rates of program participation and the benefit amounts among the eligible and non-eligible populations, and provides decompositions of the national targeting performance into the inter-district, intra-district inter-community, and intra-district intra-community components. This approach identifies the relative contributions of targeting at each level. The results show that the Farm Input Subsidy Program is not poverty targeted and that the national government, districts, and communities are nearly uniform in their failure to target the poor, with any minimal targeting (or mis-targeting) overwhelmingly materializing at the community level. The findings are robust to the choice of the eligibility indicator and the decomposition method. The multivariate analysis of household program participation reinforces these results and reveals that the relatively well-off, rather than the poor or the wealthiest, and the locally well-connected have a higher likelihood of program participation and, on average, receive a greater number of input coupons. Since a key program objective is to increase food security and income among resource-poor farmers, the lack of targeting is a concern and should underlie considerations of alternative targeting approaches that, in part or completely, rely on proxy means tests at the local level.


LSMS-ISA: Publication

From Guesstimates to GPStimates: Land Area Measurement and Implications for Agricultural Analysis

by Calogero Carletto, Sydney Gourlay, and Paul Winters
July 2013

Land area measurement is a fundamental component of agricultural statistics and analysis. Yet, commonly employed self-reported land area measures used in most analysis are not only potentially measured with error, but these errors may be correlated with agricultural outcomes. Measures employing Global Positioning Systems, on the other hand, while not perfect especially on smaller plots, are likely to provide more precise measures and errors less correlated with agricultural outcomes. This paper uses data from four African countries to compare the use of self-reported and Global Positioning Systems land measures to (1) examine the differences between the measures, (2) identify the sources of the differences, and (3) assess the implications of the different measures on agricultural analysis focusing on the inverse productivity relationship. The results indicate that self-reported land areas systematically differ from Global Positioning Systems land measures and that this difference leads to potentially biased estimates of the relationship between land and productivity.


LSMS-ISA: Publication

Missing(ness) in Action: Selectivity Bias in GPS-Based Land Area Measurements

by Talip Kilic, Alberto Zezza, Calogero Carletto, and Sara Savastano
June 2013

Land area is a fundamental component of agricultural statistics, and of analyses undertaken by agricultural economists. While household surveys in developing countries have traditionally relied on farmers' own, potentially error-prone, land area assessments, the availability of affordable and reliable Global Positioning System (GPS) units has made GPS-based area measurement a practical alternative. Nonetheless, in an attempt to reduce costs, keep interview durations within reasonable limits, and avoid the difficulty of asking respondents to accompany interviewers to distant plots, survey implementing agencies typically require interviewers to record GPS-based area measurements only for plots within a given radius of dwelling locations. It is, therefore, common for as much as a third of the sample plots not to be measured, and research has not shed light on the possible selection bias in analyses relying on partial data due to gaps in GPS-based area measures. This paper explores the patterns of missingness in GPS-based plot areas, and investigates their implications for land productivity estimates and the inverse scale-land productivity relationship. Using Multiple Imputation (MI) to predict missing GPS-based plot areas in nationally-representative survey data from Uganda and Tanzania, the paper highlights the potential of MI in reliably simulating the missing data, and confirms the existence of an inverse scale-land productivity relationship, which is strengthened by using the complete, multiply-imputed dataset. The study demonstrates the usefulness of judiciously reconstructed GPS-based areas in alleviating concerns over potential measurement error in farmer-reported areas, and with regards to systematic bias in plot selection for GPS-based area measurement.


LSMS-ISA: Publication

Caught in a Productivity Trap: A Distributional Perspective on Gender Differences in Malawian Agriculture

by Talip Kilic, Amparo Palacios-Lopez, and Markus Goldstein
March 2013

In targeting poverty gains, sub-Saharan African governments have emphasized the alleviation of gender differences in agricultural productivity. The empirical studies on the gender gap, however, have frequently used data that were limited regarding geographic and topical coverage, and/or details on intra-household dynamics. The study provides a nationally-representative analysis of the gender gap in Malawi, and decomposes it, for the first time, at the mean and at selected points of the agricultural productivity distribution into (i) a portion driven by gender differences in levels of observable attributes (the endowment effect), and (ii) a portion driven by gender differences in returns to the same set of observables (the structure effect). Sequentially, the authors unpack the relative contributions of different factors towards the gender gap, and suggest future research priorities to inform policy interventions. The authors find that while female-managed plots are, on average, 25 percent less productive, 82 percent of this differential is explained by differences in endowments, mainly due to high-value crop cultivation and levels of household adult male labor inputs. The factors driving the structure effect include child dependency ratio and effectiveness of household adult male labor and inorganic fertilizer. The gender gap increases across the productivity distribution, ranging from 22 percent at the 10th percentile to 37 percent at the 90th percentile. While it is explained predominantly by the endowment effect in the first half of the distribution, the contribution of the structure effect towards the gender gap increases steadily above the median, standing at 34 percent at the 90th percentile.

  • Download the full appendix for this article here.
  • Read the brief for this article here.

LSMS-ISA: Publication

Weight Calculations for Panel Surveys with Sub-Sampling and Split-Off Tracking

by Kristen Himelein
February 2013

The Living Standards Measurement Study -- Integrated Surveys on Agriculture project collects agricultural and livelihood data in seven countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. In order to maintain representativeness as much as possible over multiple rounds of data collection, a sub-sample of households are selected to have members that have left the household tracked and interviewed in their new location with their new household members. Since the sub-sampling occurs at the level of the household but tracking occurs at the level of the individual, a number of issues arise with the correct calculation for the sub-sampling and attrition corrections. This paper is based on the panel weight calculations for the initial rounds of the Integrated Surveys on Agriculture surveys in Uganda and Tanzania, and describes the methodology used for calculating the weight components related to sub-sampling, tracking, and attrition, as well as the criteria used for trimming and post-stratification. It also addresses complications resulting from members previously classified as having attrited from the sample returning in later rounds.


LSMS-ISA: Publication

Should African Rural Development Strategies Depend on Smallholder Farms? An Exploration of the Inverse Productivity Hypothesis

by Donald Larson, Keijiro Otsuka, Tomoya Matsumoto, and Talip Kilic
September 2012

In Africa, most development strategies include efforts to improve the productivity of staple crops grown on smallholder farms. An underlying premise is that small farms are productive in the African context and that smallholders do not forgo economies of scale -- a premise supported by the often observed phenomenon that staple cereal yields decline as the scale of production increases. This paper explores a research design conundrum that encourages researchers who study the relationship between productivity and scale to use surveys with a narrow geographic reach, when policy would be better served with studies based on wide and heterogeneous settings. Using a model of endogenous technology choice, the authors explore the relationship between maize yields and scale using alternative data. Since rich descriptions of the decision environments that farmers face are needed to identify the applied technologies that generate the data, improvements in the location specificity of the data should reduce the likelihood of identification errors and biased estimates. However, the analysis finds that the inverse productivity hypothesis holds up well across a broad platform of data, despite obvious shortcomings with some components. It also finds surprising consistency in the estimated scale elasticities.


LSMS-ISA: Publication

Livestock and Livelihoods in Rural Tanzania: A Descriptive Analysis of the 2009 National Panel Survey

by Katia Covarrubias, Longin Nsiima and Alberto Zezza
July 2012

This report presents an analysis of rural livelihoods in Tanzania, with particular emphasis on the livestock sub-sector, smallholder farmers’ living standards, and issues with access to productive assets. The study is based on data from the Tanzania National Panel Survey (NPS) collected by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) from October 2008 to October 2009 as part of the first wave of a nationally representative living standards survey. The report utilizes the extensive information included in this dataset on income sources, productive activities, access to basic services, market participation, access to assets, and a host of other socioeconomic variables to put together a detailed picture of the role of livestock in rural livelihoods.

  • Read the brief for this report here.

LSMS-ISA: Publication

Fact or Artefact: The Impact of Measurement Errors on the Farm Size - Productivity Relationship

by Calogero Carletto, Sara Savastano, and Alberto Zezza
December 2011

This paper revisits the role of land measurement error in the inverse farm size and productivity relationship. By making use of data from a nationally representative household survey from Uganda, in which self-reported land size information is complemented by plot measurements collected using Global Position System devices, the authors reject the hypothesis that the inverse relationship may just be a statistical artifact linked to problems with land measurement error. In particular, the paper explores: (i) the determinants of the bias in land measurement, (ii) how this bias varies systematically with plot size and landholding, and (iii) the extent to which land measurement error affects the relative advantage of smallholders implied by the inverse relationship. The findings indicate that using an improved measure of land size strengthens the evidence in support of the existence of the inverse relationship.

  • Read the brief for this article here.

LSMS-ISA: Publication

Can Diaries Help Improve Agricultural Production Statistics? Evidence from Uganda

by Klaus Deininger, Calogero Carletto, Sara Savastano, and James Muwonge
June 2011

Although good and timely information on agricultural production is critical for policy decisions, the quality of underlying data is often low, and improving data quality can result in high payoffs. This paper uses data from a production diary administered concurrently with a standard household survey in Uganda to analyze the nature and incidence of responses, the magnitude of differences in reported outcomes, and factors that systematically affect these. Despite limited central supervision, diaries elicited a strong response, complemented standard surveys in a number of respects, and were less affected by problems of respondent fatigue than expected. The diary-based estimates of output value consistently exceeded those from the recall-based production survey, in line with reported disposition. Implications for policy and practical administration of surveys are drawn out.


LSMS-ISA: Publication

Reliability of Recall in Agricultural Data

by Kathleen Beegle, Calogero Carletto, and Kristen Himelein
June 2011

Due to survey logistics, agricultural data are usually collected by asking respondents to recall the details of events occurring during past agricultural seasons that took place a number of months prior to the interview. This gap can lead to recall bias in reported data on agricultural activities. The problem is further complicated when interviews are conducted over the course of several months, thus leading to recall of variable length. To test for such recall bias, the length of time between harvest and interview is examined for three African countries with respect to several common agricultural input and harvest measures. The analysis shows little evidence of recall bias impacting data quality. There is some indication that more salient events are less subject to recall decay. Overall, the results allay concerns about the quality of some types of agricultural data collected through recall over lengthy periods.

  • Read the brief for this paper here.

LSMS-ISA: Publication

Using Mobile Phones to Collect Panel Data in Developing Countries

by Brian Dillon
October 2010

The rapid spread of mobile telephony throughout the developing world offers researchers a new and exciting means of data collection. This paper describes and analyzes the experience of a research project that used mobile phones to collect high frequency, quantitative economic data from households in rural Tanzania. It discusses the research design, highlights mistakes made and lessons learned, and speculates on the applicability of this method in other settings.

  • Read the brief for this paper here.
LSMS-ISA: Presentation

New Methods in Household Surveys

May 7th, 2012

Download a presentation given by the LSMS-ISA team as part of the World Bank's Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) Network Learning Days 2012. The presentation provides an overview of the use of Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing and its role in the LSMS-ISA project. It also describes the project's utilization of geo-referencing, as well as various upcoming methodological survey experiments in agriculture, including on land area measurement, soil fertility, and the production of continuous and/or extended harvest crops.

LSMS-ISA: Presentation

LSMS-ISA: Challenges and Next Steps

February 27th, 2012

Download a presentation given by the LSMS-ISA team at the World Bank. The presentation describes the main features of the project, discusses the progress of the project to date, reviews challenges that are currently facing the project, and outlines next steps as the project continues to move forward in supporting high quality household and agricultural data in each of its partner countries.

LSMS-ISA: Presentation

LSMS-ISA: Innovations Built on Tradition

April 26th, 2011

Download a presentation given by the LSMS-ISA team as part of the discussion on Innovations in Survey Design for Policy. The presentation was given during a weeklong learning session presented by the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) Network of the World Bank. It introduces the LSMS-ISA project, discusses main features and challenges, and presents examples of methodological validation exercises being conducted under the project.

LSMS-ISA: Presentation

Adding Agriculture to the Mix: The LSMS-ISA Project

November 30th, 2010

Download a presentation given by the LSMS-ISA team at the African Economic Research Consortium held in Mombasa, Kenya. The presentation defines the motivation behind the LSMS-ISA project, outlines preliminary findings, and discusses possible new directions for the project moving forward.

LSMS-ISA: Brief

Child Anthropometrics and Malnutrition in Malawi

March 2014

Read a brief that summarizes the anthropometric data and resulting malnutrition indicators from the Malawi Third Integrated Household Survey.

LSMS-ISA: Brief

Child Anthropometrics and Malnutrition in Uganda

March 2014

Read a brief that summarizes the anthropometric data and resulting malnutrition indicators from the first wave of the Uganda National Panel Survey.

LSMS-ISA: Brief

Gender and Agricultural Productivity in Malawi

August 2013

Read a brief of a paper that unpacks the relative contributions of different factors towards the gender gap in agricultural productivity, and suggest future research priorities to inform policy interventions.

LSMS-ISA: Brief

Measuring Conflict in Micro-Level Surveys

August 2013

Read a brief of our sourcebook written to help researchers identify consistently, comparatively, and across time, the ways in which violent conflict affects individuals, households and communities along key social and economic dimensions.

LSMS-ISA: Brief

Measurement, Farm Size and Productivity

June 2013

Read a brief of a paper analyzing GPS vs. farmers' estimates of farm size, which finds that more accurate measurement of farmers’ plots if anything reinforces, rather than weakening, the existing evidence of an inverse farm size-productivity relationship.

LSMS-ISA: Brief

Results from the 2011-2012 Ethiopia Rural Socioeconomic Survey

Read a series of briefs that summarize various results on key topics from the 2011-2012 Ethiopia Rural Socioeconomic Survey, conducted by the Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency.

LSMS-ISA: Brief

Results from the 2010-2011 Nigeria General Household Survey - Panel

Read a series of briefs that summarize various results on key topics from the Nigeria 2010-2011 General Household Survey - Panel, conducted by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics.

LSMS-ISA: Brief

Shocks and Coping in Sub-Saharan Africa

March 2013

Read a brief that summarizes the shocks that households experience in Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda, as well as household coping strategies and their consequences.

LSMS-ISA: Brief

Using Mobile Phones to Collect Panel Data

December 2012

Read our brief on an experiment conducted in Tanzania on the use of mobile phones to gather high frequency quantitative data on agricultural inputs and farmers’ subjective expectations for uncertain outcomes such as weather, prices, and crop yields.

LSMS-ISA: Brief

Reliability of Recall in Agricultural Data

October 2012

Read our brief on a paper investigating the extent of recall bias with regards to several important agricultural input and harvest measures, which finds that farmers' reports of harvest, crop sales, and input use are not significantly affected by a longer recall period.

LSMS-ISA: Brief

Tracking in Panel Household Surveys

October 2012

Read a brief that explains the necessity of tracking movers in panel household surveys, and provides key advice on implementation, tracking design, and ethical concerns with regards to tracking.

LSMS-ISA: Brief

Livestock and Livelihoods in Tanzania: Can the Sector Deliver on Growth and Poverty Reduction?

July 2012

Read a brief of our report analyzing rural livelihoods in Tanzania, with particular emphasis on the livestock sub-sector.

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Last updated: 2014-12-03




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