J-PAL’s Agriculture sector focuses on improving agricultural systems in developing countries and on ways to help farmers adopt practices and technologies that are profitable or environmentally sustainable, and on programs that have the potential to better link farmers to markets.

Three-quarters of the world’s poor live in rural areas, and many depend directly or indirectly on agriculture. Agricultural technologies have the potential to improve their lives through higher yields, better prices, lower risk, and improved nutrition. But take-up of these technologies—from improved seeds to financial products like microinsurance—is low. J-PAL affiliates are conducting rigorous research to test new ways to promote take-up, manage the risks inherent to agriculture, better link farmers to markets, and promote environmentally-sustainable agricultural practices.

The Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI) promotes research that helps identify the constraints that keep poor farmers from adopting profitable agricultural technologies, as well as possible solutions to tackle those constraints.


Market Inefficiences and the Adoption of Agricultural Technologies in Developing Countries

This literature review provides a theoretical framework for the Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI), a joint collaboration with describing seven constraints that prevent the adoption...


Make It Rain

Weather index insurance protects farmers against losses from extreme weather and facilitates investment in their farms, but randomized evaluations in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have shown low...


Shawn Cole

Shawn Cole is the John G McLean Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. His research examines agriculture, corporate finance, banking, and consumer finance in developing...

Three men talking over paperwork outdoors


Formal Rainfall Insurance for the Informally Insured in India

Researchers evaluated how informal insurance within Indian sub-castes affects the demand for formal rainfall insurance, and subsequent risk-taking among households employed in agriculture. Informal...


Resilient Rice

Flood-tolerant rice reduced risk for smallholder farmers in Odisha, India and encouraged additional investment in their farms, resulting in substantially increased yields in both flood and non-flood...