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Environmental Production Factors and Efficiency of Smallholder Agricultural Households: Using Non‐parametric Conditional Frontier Methods


External environmental factors play a significant role in the agricultural production of smallholder farmers. This is especially the case in developing countries where production is less technologically intensive. These factors are mainly exogenous and affect both the farmers’ input choices and the final output levels. However, previous studies of technical efficiency of smallholder agricultural production either ignore these factors or assume separability between environmental factors and input choice, which is often not the case in developing counties. Using data on smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, we relax this separability assumption and investigate the importance of external environmental factors in farmers’ performance and efficiency variation across regions. The empirical analysis is based on a non‐parametric conditional order‐m estimation method that relaxes some of the traditional strong assumptions in efficiency modeling and, more importantly, the separability between environmental factors and the choice of physical inputs. Using data from four major agricultural regions of Ethiopia, we show the extent that environmental factors contribute to the technical efficiency and the significance of environmental factors in farmers’ performance.


Keywords: Environmental factors; Ethiopia; non-parametric conditional frontier estimation; production efficiency; smallholder farmers.


JEL classifications: C14, O13, Q12.



Adamie, A.,  B.; Balezentis, T.; Asmild, M. 2019. Environmental Production Factors and Efficiency of Smallholder Agricultural Households: Using Non‐parametric Conditional Frontier Methods. In Journal of Agricultural Economic. Vol. 70, No. 2, p. 471–487; doi: 10.1111/1477-9552.12308; [Academic Search (EBSCO Publishing); Academic Search Alumni Edition (EBSCO Publishing); Academic Search Premier (EBSCO Publishing); AgBiotech News & Information (CABI); AgBiotechNet (CABI); AgeLine Database (EBSCO Publishing); AGRICOLA Database (National Agricultural Library); Agricultural & Environmental Science Database (ProQuest); Agricultural Engineering Abstracts (CABI); Animal Breeding Abstracts (CABI); Biofuels Abstracts (CABI); Biological & Agricultural Index Plus (EBSCO Publishing); CAB Abstracts® (CABI); Current Contents: Agriculture, Biology & Environmental Sciences (Clarivate Analytics); Current Contents: Social & Behavioral Sciences (Clarivate Analytics); Dairy Science Abstracts (CABI); EconLit (AEA); Field Crop Abstracts (CABI); GEOBASE (Elsevier); GeoRef (AGI); Global Health (CABI); Grasslands & Forage Abstracts (CABI); Horticultural Science Abstracts (CABI); Irrigation & Drainage Abstracts (CABI); Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition (Clarivate Analytics); Journal Citation Reports/Social Science Edition (Clarivate Analytics); Maize Abstracts (CABI); Natural Science Collection (ProQuest); Nutrition Abstracts & Reviews Series A: Human & Experimental (CABI); Nutrition Abstracts & Reviews Series B: Livestock Feeds & Feeding (CABI); Ornamental Horticulture (CABI); Periodical Index Online (ProQuest); Pig News & Information (CABI); Plant Breeding Abstracts (CABI); Plant Genetic Resources Abstracts (CABI); Postharvest News & Information (CABI); Poultry Abstracts (CABI); Proquest Business Collection (ProQuest); ProQuest Politics Collection (ProQuest); ProQuest Sociology Collection (ProQuest); RePEc: Research Papers in Economics; Review of Agricultural Entomology (CABI); Review of Medical & Veterinary Entomology (CABI); Rice Abstracts (CABI); Rural Development Abstracts (CABI); Science Citation Index (Clarivate Analytics); Science Citation Index Expanded (Clarivate Analytics); SciTech Premium Collection (ProQuest); SCOPUS (Elsevier); Seed Abstracts (CABI); Social Science Premium Collection (ProQuest); Social Sciences Citation Index (Clarivate Analytics); Soils & Fertilizers Abstracts (CABI); Soybean Abstracts Online (CABI); Sugar Industry Abstracts (CABI); Tropical Diseases Bulletin (CABI); Veterinary Bulletin (CABI); VINITI (All-Russian Institute of Science & Technological Information); Viticulture & Enology Abstracts (Vitis); Wheat, Barley & Triticale Abstracts (CABI); World Agricultural Economics & Rural Sociology Abstracts (CABI)].


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