Pathways Less Explored—Locus of Control and Technology Adoption
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Many African countries strive to achieve widespread agricultural productivity growth by encouraging their farmers to adopt relevant modern technologies. The use of such technologies as well as land and labour productivity are rising as a consequence. Nonetheless, both have to increase much faster to meet growing food and non-food demands in part through the further expansion of modern input use. This paper explores the role of individuals' locus of control as a potential complementary avenue to promote the adoption of such technologies. Using data from several large surveys in rural Ethiopia, it first measure locus of control and find evidence of 'external' locus of control among a substantial fraction of rural households. An ordered-choice framework is subsequently employed to estimate these households' propensity of technology adoption. The empirical specification extends the standard model by explicitly including locus of control measures. Associations between modern inputs use and factors conventionally deemed important (such as access to extension, household wealth and agro-ecology) are uncovered. Moreover, the results provide strongly suggestive evidence that lower internal and higher 'external' locus of control respectively dampen the propensity to adopt modern farming technology. These new findings indicate that locus of control and related psychological traits may serve as a complementary pathway to influence farmers' choices in production technology and beyond.
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