Study of Treatment Effects in Village-Level Studies. Working Paper Series no. 33 uri icon

abstract

  • Village-Level Studies (VLS) are one of the most efficient ways to understand rural farming systemsand also help identify the socioeconomic and institutional constraints faced by the farming community.ICRISAT initiated longitudinal VLS in three important and contrasting production regions in India?ssemi-arid tropics (SAT) in the mid-1970s. These ?first generation? studies continued between 1975 and1985 and were then discontinued. They were revived during 2001-2002 after a gap of 17 years, andthis second round of studies is referred to as ?second generation? VLS.The basic aim of these studies is to monitor the same households as they evolve and respond tonormal development opportunities, without any deliberate intervention in their lives. Precautions aretaken to keep the effect of an outsider?s presence in the village to a minimum so that it will not influencehousehold behavior. Some social science researchers believe that a continuous engagement of VLSsample households may enlarge the horizons of the respondents, rendering them more progressiveand knowledgeable than the non-VLS households. They also presume that the presence of a residentinvestigator in the study village and continuous association with ICRISAT research staff might createsome ?treatment effect? on VLS households. These hypotheses need to be tested by using indicatorsof treatment effect. The present study was initiated to ascertain whether the VLS activity has had anyeffect in terms of improving the welfare of the people in the study villages. The detailed analysis ofcensus and sample household data in both first and second generation VLS led us to conclude thatthere are no treatment effects occurring due to engagement of households or villages by the VLSresearch team

publication date

  • 2012