In Burkina Faso, as in many sub-Saharan countries, farmers struggle with low crop yields. Most established techniques to increase agricultural productivity rely on the use of technologies like fertilizer, but these inputs are expensive and inaccessible to many farmers in the region.
Democratic elections are seen as a way of improving government accountability, but the means through which elections affect officials’ behavior is poorly understood, particularly in local elections where inter-party competition is rare. Researchers in Burkina Faso staged a community decision-making scenario with real financial stakes to understand how elections effect public embezzlement, social norms and trust in officials.
Rainfall insurance is a potentially cost-effective way to protect farmers in low-income countries from adverse weather events, but its adoption has been low. Marketing rainfall insurance to farmers’ urban relatives, who often help support their rural family members, may increase its use. Researchers partnered with micro-insurance organization Planet Guarantee to study the demand for a rainfall insurance product marketed to urban relatives of farmers in Burkina Faso.
Although the ability to control fertility can have broad social and economic consequences, social norms and misinformation can discourage contraceptive use in many countries. Innovations for Poverty Action is working with researchers to evaluate the impact of a three-year mass media campaign focused on family planning and gender norms in Burkina Faso.
The agricultural sector in Sub-Saharan Africa has been changing in recent years, with more farmers living near urban areas, selling more of their crops for income, and also engaging in more off-farm work and non-agricultural activities to supplement farm revenue. However, little evidence exists thus far on how these trends are affecting nutrition, especially that of the most vulnerable members of farming families—women and children.
In theory, local government meetings provide important opportunities for citizens to be directly involved in decisions about important services that affect their daily lives. In practice, citizens can be disengaged from local governments, either because they are uninformed or because they do not believe their involvement is welcome or effective.
Democratic accountability relies on performance-based voting, in which citizens vote based on candidates’ expected or previous performance. Yet, if citizens do not have this information, they cannot use it to inform their vote choices.
Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially those in the Sahel region, face a wide range of risks to their welfare and livelihoods, such as drought, price fluctuations, and family illness. This study in Burkina Faso and Senegal evaluated the impact of weather insurance and three savings devices on a variety of investment and welfare outcomes, and tested if demand for the products differed among men and women.
Despite the availability of new agricultural technologies, which may increase yields and household income, few farmers in the Sahel region of Sub-Saharan Africa are using improved seeds and fertilizer.
Poor sanitation in the developing world leads to major diseases, increased public health expenditures, and causes childhood diarrhea, a leading cause of mortality in children under five.1 To explore how market interventions can be designed to address the unique sanitation challenges faced in developing countries, this project will design and test alternative pricing structures and evaluate their impact on the take-up of im
Access to rural finance is considered a key tool to reduce poverty among farmers, yet existing microcredit models have shown limited capacity to increase profitability for these farmers. Improved approaches may address the behavioral constraints that farmers face, such as the temptation to sell when cash is needed but prices for crops are low.