IFPRI Mobile Experimental Economics Laboratory (IMEEL)

IMEEL Research Projects

Current Projects

Farmer Groups

It is increasingly clear that an institutional infrastructure that facilitates access to markets is critically important for smallholder farmers. However, typically, small farmers lack the capacity to gain access to markets that truly create high value. Over the past few years, stakeholders have expressed a renewed interest in collective action mechanisms such as farmer groups (rural producer organizations) as a means to help smallholders gain access to markets. There are, however, few empirical assessments of these organizations. This project is part of IFPRI’s ongoing work to understand farmer groups, the services they provide to their members, and the constraints (both internal constraints such as coordination of harvest delivery to the group and external/physical constraints such as limited access to buyers or storage capacities) they face.

Experimental Methodologies and Measurement

Data are an important building block for the process of conducting research. They are used to test and validate theoretical models, but they also provide empirical foundations for new models or hypotheses. Validated hypotheses in turn inform policymaking. Researchers care about the quality of data; ‘sloppy’ data can lead to incorrect inferences and thus, incorrect policy recommendations. This research project will build on existing work to further our understanding of how methodological issues affect the data we collect and the inferences drawn from them. For example, how can ‘experimenter’ and ‘design’ effects impact the results we infer and, thus, the policy recommendations that we make?

Migrant and Diaspora Behavior

It is well established that the flow of trade from a source country to a recipient country is positively correlated with the number of immigrants from the recipient country living in the source country. Furthermore, the proportion of immigrants who participate in business networks also increases the flow of trade. As a result, diaspora, or immigrant groups in migrant destinations, can play an important role in developing business opportunities between two countries. These considerations beg the bigger question: Under what circumstances (i.e. how and when) are diaspora investments, particularly in agriculture, feasible? In other words, what are the determinants (particularly behavioral) of diaspora investment decisions? Furthermore, to the extent that diaspora do choose to invest, what are the most successful ventures, in the case of agriculture value chains, in which to invest? This project examines these and related questions.