Logo Doctoral Certificate Program in Agricultural Economics Deutsch

Module 7400
Technology and Innovation in the Agricultural Sector –
Theoretical and Empirical Approaches


Prof. Johannes Sauer jo.sauer@tum.de, Technical University Munich
Venue: Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan (WZW), Technische Universität München

Course Description

Technological differences explain most of the income differences worldwide (Acemoglu 2009). This is also true for the agricultural sector (Self and Grabowski 2007). Therefore, the aim of the course is an understanding of the theoretical concepts and empirical methods that are used to analyze the determinants and effects of innovation and technological change in the agricultural sector.

A major interest is thus, what determines the diffusion of innovations (Feder et al. 1985, Feder and Umali 1993, Foster and Rosenzweig 2010) and what are the effects (Dercon et al. 2009, Conley and Udry 2010, Foster and Rosenzweig 2010, Di Falco et al. 2011, Suri 2011).

There are numerous empirical studies, theoretical models and econometric-statistical methods in the field. Hence, a course on these topics should help
(a) to get started in the field and understand past achievements and current efforts
(b) to understand what has been learned methodologically so far, so that past mistakes will not be repeated
(c) to help the development of new ideas and hypotheses, also for researchers who are already further advanced. A characteristic of the course is that also non-economic concepts are discussed including such in the areas of psychology, history, anthropology, and sociology. Such a course set-up will give a fuller picture and help to increase the innovativeness of the technology adoption and innovation related research.

Teaching Style: Lectures and Discussion of the state of the art in the field. Discussion of high-impact research contributions. Practical sessions based on quantitative datasets and econometric applications.

Language: English

Credits: 3

Outline of the Course

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview - Innovation and Technology Diffusion in the Agricultural Sector
    • Historical Perspective
    • Recent Trends
    • Causes
    • Effects
  3. Theoretical Approaches
    1. Economic (80%)
      • Early approaches (Griliches 1957, 1960)
      • Imitations-models (Rogers 2010)
      • Threshold models (David 1975)
      • Bayesian models (Feder and O'Mara 1982)
    2. Non-economic (20%)
      1. Psychological
        • Behavioral Economics (Duflo et al. 2009, Datta and Mullainathan 2014)
        • Self-Efficacy (Bandura 1977, 1997)
      2. Anthropological and Sociological
        • Cultural Evoloution (Henrich et al. 2008, Richerson and Boyd 2008, Boyd et al. 2011)
        • Social Learning (Rogers 2010)
  4. Empirical Approaches
    • Determinants of Technology Adoption (Doss 2006, Sunding and Zilberman 2001, Foster and Rosenzweig 2010, Zilberman et al. 2012, Sauer und Zilberman 2009)
    • Productivity-, efficiency, and income-analysis (Mayen et al 2010, Suri 2011, Larson et al. 2014)
    • Treatment-effects and policy evaluation (Angrist and Pischke 2008)