The Effect of Agricultural Extension Programs on Technical Efficiency of Crop Farms in Low and Middle-Income Countries
52 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2018 Last revised: 19 Jan 2021
Date Written: January 21, 2021
Extension services have become the gold standard for agricultural development programs to spur farm productivity and enhance farmers’ livelihood. Scholars from distinct strands of research have contested the virtues of these programs as systematic reviews failed to disentangle the different causal paths. We aim to unpack the relationship between these two constructs, and more specifically explore the main determinants driving systematic variations in the technical efficiency estimates from all relevant crop-farming studies. A meta-regression analysis is conducted by collating 335 observations from 199 farm level studies to review the direct effect of agricultural extension activities on farm performance. While the implementation of extension programs is likely to be non-randomly distributed in our sample, we employ the inverse probability of treatment weighting to correct for potential selection bias. Evidence for the absence of a publication bias in farm studies used in the meta-analysis is identified. Consonant with the theory of agricultural extension, we find that extension significantly improves technical efficiency by 4.8% to 7.6%. Farm productivity significantly differs in country level characteristics, type of crops and model specification. Our empirical findings are robust when replacing missing observations with imputed values computed from multiple imputation method.
Keywords: Agricultural extension; Crop farming; Inverse Probability of Treatment Weighting; Meta-analysis; Multiple Imputation; Publication bias; Technical efficiency
JEL Classification: Q16, O18, C14, C29
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