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Suraj Malladi

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Incentivizing Smallholder Farmers to Experiment with New Technologies

Graduate Student Research Fellowship | 2019 - 2020 Academic Year

Even with the support of subsidies, insurance, credit and educational programs, smallholder farmers may resist adopting yield-improving technologies. Malladi studies how to design incentives to overcome the remaining bottlenecks to adoption, such as psychological costs, risk aversion, ambiguity aversion, and pessimism about the efficacy of new technologies. He shows that optimal incentive schemes for ambiguity averse farmers have a simple form and enjoy several robustness properties, e.g., being effective even in the presence of other bottlenecks. Testing these schemes against cash gifts in the field serves both to compare performance and identify the strength of the various explanations for non-adoption.


Suraj Malladi, Graduate School of Business

Suraj Malladi

Suraj Malladi is a PhD candidate in economic analysis and policy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He studies social learning, diffusion in networks, and robust policy design, with applications from development economics. Some of his work addresses how policymakers may trade off careful targeting versus additional outreach when attempting to diffuse new technologies in small village networks. He is currently studying the problem of designing scalable incentive programs that promote the adoption of yield-improving technologies among smallholder farmers. He holds a BA in economics and a BS in mathematics from The University of Chicago.

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