Emilia Tjernström

School of Economics
University of Sydney
A02 - Social Sciences Building
NSW 2006

E-Mail: emilia.tjernstrom@sydney.edu.au
Institutional Affiliation: University of Sydney

NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2020Filling a Niche? The Maize Productivity Impacts of Adaptive Breeding by a Local Seed Company in Kenya
with Samuel S. Bird, Michael R. Carter, Travis J. Lybbert, Mary W. K. Mathenge, Timothy Njagi Njeru: w27636
This paper explores the idea that a competitive seed system may systematically underserve farmers in small, agro-ecological niches, leaving potential yield gains on the table and farmers in these areas less productive and poorer than they need be. We develop a simple theoretical model that illustrates how a confluence of demand and supply factors can result in such an under-serviced equilibrium. To study the empirical veracity of this model, we study the disruption of the maize seed market in Western Kenya that took place when a combination of public sector foundation breeding and social impact investment capital allowed a local seed company to expand and target a niche agro-ecological zone with adaptively-bred maize varieties. A three-year randomized controlled trial reveals that the impa...
July 2019Can Smallholder Extension Transform African Agriculture?
with Joshua W. Deutschmann, Maya Duru, Kim Siegal: w26054
Agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) lags far behind all other regions of the world. A long list of policy experiments has yielded more evidence on what fails than on what works. We analyze a randomized control trial of a rare scaled-up success story: One Acre Fund’s small farmer program. Much like anti-poverty "graduation" interventions, the program aims to relax multiple constraints to productivity simultaneously. We show that participation causes statistically and economically significant increases in output, yields, and profits. In our preferred specification, maize production increases by 24% and profits by 16%. We find little evidence of heterogeneous treatment effects on yields, but observe some attenuation of impacts on total output and profits at the top end of th...
September 2016Heterogeneous Impact Dynamics of a Rural Business Development Program in Nicaragua
with Michael R. Carter, Patricia Toledo: w22628
We study the impacts of a rural development program designed to boost the income of the smallfarm sector in Nicaragua. Exploiting the random assignment of treatment, we find statistically and economically significant impacts on gross farm income and investment in productive farm capital. Using continuous treatment estimation techniques, we examine the evolution of program impacts over time and find that the estimated income increase persists and that the impacts on productive capital stock continue to rise even after the program concluded. Additionally, panel quantile methods reveal striking heterogeneity of program impacts on both income and investment. We show that this heterogeneity is not random and that there appear to exist low-performing household types who benefit little from the p...

Published: Michael R. Carter & Emilia Tjernström & Patricia Toledo, 2018. "Heterogeneous impact dynamics of a rural business development program in Nicaragua," Journal of Development Economics, . citation courtesy of

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