Critiquing Ethiopian LSMS-ISA Agriculture Module

A Brief Overview of the LSMS-ISA Agriculture Module: From the perspective of someone trying to identify adopters from non-adopters of specific agricultural technology

Abebual Demilew*

Critiquing LSMS-ISA survey agriculture module in four hours is a daunting exercise. LSMS-ISA surveys are one of the most robust and high quality survey instruments available, and the LSMS-ISA team has successfully mainstreamed the practice of producing integrable, high-quality, and relevant agriculture data across various countries. This is particularly admirable considering the history of weakly-designed, inconsistent agriculture data and the challenges of cross-country comparisons. For this exercise, I used the latest 2013/2014 Ethiopian Rural Socioeconomic Survey (ERSS), and briefly examined its agriculture questionnaire, specifically its post planting module1. With this in mind, in this paper, I will try to discuss the major constraints in characterization of agricultural technology “adopters” and “non-adopters” for impact evaluation data analysis. For readability, I will reference any particular question on the selected post planting agriculture module with the following identifiers: page number, module section name, and question or column number. For example, (19; Crop Roster; 2) can be used to refer to a question on page 19, under crop roster section and in column number 2. In the process of critiquing the adopter and non-adopter identifier used in the ERSS, Ethiopian version of the LSMS-ISA survey, I will try to demonstrate if those characterizations are accurately captured or not in the survey’s agriculture module, especially in sections of the module, where gaps have been identified. Read more

1 Copy of the module can be accessed at the Living Standards Measurement Study: Integrated Surveys on Agriculture, Ethiopia Country Programs web page,,contentMDK:22938449~pagePK:64168445~piPK:64168309~theSitePK:7420261,00.html

*I wrote this article as a screening test for a FAO job. We were given 4 hours to perform the task. Fortunately, I did not get the job.

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