The value of forecasts: Experimental evidence from developing-country agriculture

Last registered on February 14, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
The value of forecasts: Experimental evidence from developing-country agriculture
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008846
Initial registration date
February 11, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
February 14, 2022, 1:27 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Chicago

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
American University
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2022-04-01
End date
2023-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Climate risk is a key driver of low agricultural productivity in poor countries. We use a cluster-randomized trial to evaluate a novel risk-mitigation approach: long-range forecasts that provide information about the onset of the Indian summer monsoon well in advance of its arrival. In contrast to traditional approaches that allow farmers to cope with risk ex post, this new ex ante technology provides accurate information at least one month in advance of the monsoon's arrival, enabling farmers to alter cropping choices and other up front input decisions. Moreover, forecasts have the potential to be disseminated cheaply, even at scale. We assign 250 villages to one of three groups: a control group; a group that is given an opportunity to purchase the forecast; and a group that is offered insurance. This design allows us to investigate farmers' willingness-to-pay for forecasts; measure how forecasts affect farmer beliefs, up-front investments, and welfare; and study how these effects compare to the canonical ex post loss mitigation tool: weather-based index insurance.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Burlig, Fiona et al. 2022. "The value of forecasts: Experimental evidence from developing-country agriculture." AEA RCT Registry. February 14. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8846
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
We implement a field experiment with a control group and two treatment arms. In the first treatment arm, farmers will be offered the opportunity to purchase a long-range monsoon forecast. In the second treatment arm, farmers will be offered the opportunity to purchase an index-based insurance product.
Intervention Start Date
2022-04-01
Intervention End Date
2022-10-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Willingness-to-pay; farmer beliefs; "ex ante" outcomes including area planted, labor use per area, fertilizer use per area,
and crop choice; "ex post" outcomes, including total harvest, yield, value of crop sales, off-farm work/migration, household
finances, and consumption expenditure.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Please see our PDF PAP for more details.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Please see our PDF PAP for detailed information on outcomes.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We conduct a cluster-randomized trial that assigns each of 250 villages to one of three groups. We stratify on village characteristics. We sample 5-10 households per village to survey and, if applicable, treat.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Stratified randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Village
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
250 villages
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,250 -- 2,500 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
100 villages control, 100 villages forecast offer, 50 villages insurance offer
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Chicago SRS IRB
IRB Approval Date
2021-05-10
IRB Approval Number
IRB20-1364
Analysis Plan

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