This study examines how parent socioeconomic status (SES) directly and indirectly predicts children’s school readiness through pathways of parental investment. Data come from direct assessments with preschool children and surveys with their primary caregivers in Ghana at the start of the 2015–2016 school year (N = 2,137; Mage = 5.2 years). Results revealed SES-related gaps in all parental investment characteristics and child school readiness skills. Preschool involvement served as the primary mediating mechanism in the path from SES to most school readiness skills, though it did not predict executive function. The number of books in the household was marginally positively predictive of early literacy, whereas at-home stimulation was negatively related to motor, literacy, and numeracy skills.

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Published Paper
Date:
May 22, 2018
English

Improved seeds varieties can generate significantly higher agricultural yields for farmers, but recent data indicates that only 20 percent of farmers in northern Ghana use improved seeds. This study, known as the Testing Agricultural Technologies (TAT) project, compared yields and profits of several seed varieties and looked at farmer purchasing decisions to understand the performance and adoption of seed varieties in northern Ghana.

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Brief
Date:
May 01, 2018
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Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture currently operates an agricultural extension agency program to help teach smallholder farmers the most current farming techniques, but there are not enough agents to provide a constant presence in local communities. As part of the Disseminating Innovative Resources and Technologies to Smallholder Farmers (DIRTS) project, researchers collaborated with the ministry to test a new community agricultural extension agent program, which selected and trained local agents to supplement the existing MOFA agents and provide more frequent teaching and support.

Key Findings*

After three years:

  • Community extension agents successfully increased local farmers’ knowledge and improved their practices.
  • Delivering specific information about a practice close to the time when the practice should be adopted may be an important component of a successful program.
  • However, farmers’ improved knowledge and implementation of best practices did not ultimately translate into increased yields or more earnings for the farmers.
  • Farmers who received the program invested more in the use of chemicals, but not other inputs.

*These results are preliminary and may change after further data collection and/or analysis.

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Date:
May 01, 2018
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Improved seeds varieties can generate significantly higher agricultural yields for farmers, but recent data indicates that only 20 percent of farmers in northern Ghana use improved seeds. This study, known as the Testing Agricultural Technologies (TAT) project, compared yields and profits of several seed varieties and looked at farmer purchasing decisions to understand the performance and adoption of seed varieties in northern Ghana.

Key Findings*

Over the course of one growing season:

  • The seed comparison found a wide variety in yields between seeds, with farmers who grew the foreign hybrid seed, Adikanfo, on average yielding more than double that yielded from the local hybrid seed, Mamaba.
  • Contrary to expectations, the commonly-used local seed, Obaatanpa, outperformed the local hybrid seed, Mamaba.
  • The study suggests a farmer cultivating one hectare of land who switched from Obaatanpa to Adikanfo would harvest about 1.8 tons more maize, translating into an increase in profit of more than 1,600 GHC.
  • It is important to note these results are particular to this context and conditions, and during the growing season studied there was ample rainfall. These results cannot speak to characteristics of seeds not tested under these conditions, such as drought resistance.

*Results are preliminary and may change after further data collection and/or analysis. Note this study was not a randomized evaluation.

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Brief
Date:
May 01, 2018
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In Ghana, and many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, farmers invest little in inputs, such as improved seed, fertilizer, and other chemicals to improve their yields. One reason for this may be risk associated with factors out of their control, such as weather. As part of the “Disseminating Innovative Resources and Technologies to Smallholder Farmers” project, researchers partnered with a weather forecasting firm to test the impact of providing daily short-term weather forecasts by SMS.

Key Findings

After 1 year:

  • Farmers who received the forecasts, as well as farmers living nearby, used this information to change their behavior, timing planting and chemical application for days when light rain was forecast.
  • However, there was no discernable impact of the service on farmers’ overall profits.
  • Overall, the results suggest that forecasts are inexpensive and effective at changing farmer behavior, but they were not sufficient to increase overall profits alone.
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Brief
Date:
May 01, 2018

Several field experiments find positive returns to grants for male and not female microentrepreneurs. But, these analyses largely overlook that male and female micro-entrepreneurs often belong to the same household. Using data from randomized trials in India, Sri Lanka and Ghana, we show that the gender gap in microenterprise performance is not due to a gap in aptitude. Instead, low average returns of female-run enterprises are observed because women’s capital is invested into their husbands’ enterprises rather than their own. When women are the sole household enterprise operator, capital shocks lead to large increases in profits. Household-level income gains are equivalent regardless of the grant or loan recipient’s gender.

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Working Paper
Date:
April 18, 2018

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