The role of education in facilitating risk-taking and innovation in agriculture

J. Knight, S. Weir, T. Woldehanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)


The impact of education on farmers' attitudes toward endogenous risk (measured using an attitude survey instrument) is estimated with household data from rural Ethiopia. Education of the household head isfound to decrease risk-aversion. Next, the effects of education and risk attitudes on technology adoption are estimated. Schooling encourages farmers to adopt innovations, whereas risk-aversion reduces the probability of adoption. Thus, we find that schooling encourages innovation, a potentially risky undertaking, not only directly but also indirectly, through its effect upon attitudes toward risk. To the extent that educated farmers are early innovators and are copied by those with less schooling (as other research on the same data has shown), the reduction of risk-aversion not only has private benefits for those with education but also may have externality benefits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
JournalJournal of Development Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • credit constraints
  • rural india
  • attitudes
  • aversion
  • farmers


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