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Fertilizer Nudges

We’ve blogged before about the efforts of the international aid community to increase fertilizer use among small farmers in Africa. Many economists, however, believe that the subsidies often used to deliver the input are “distortionary, regressive, environmentally unsound, and … result in politicized, inefficient distribution of fertilizer supply.” A new working paper by Esther Duflo, Michael Kremer, and Jonathan Robinson examines the fertilizer-buying patterns of farmers in Western Kenya. The authors rely on insights from behavioral economics to explain the limited fertilizer investment observed in many farmers and offer policy recommendations for achieving optimal fertilizer use. [%comments]