The impact of credit policy on rice production in Myanmar: A fuzzy regression discontinuity design approach

Crawford School Working Paper 1801
Author name: 
Nilar Aung
Hoa-Thi-Minh Nguyen
Robert Sparrow

Rural finance has long been an important tool for poverty reduction and rural development by donors and governments, but the impacts have been controversial. Measuring impact is challenging due to identification problems caused by selection bias and governments’ targeted interventions, while randomised trial data is scarce and limited to contexts where little to no rural fiance exists. Using an author-collected data set, we provide insights on a largescale long-lasting subsidized rice credit programme in Myanmar, one of the poorest and, until recently, most economically isolated countries in Asia. Identification relies on a fuzzy regression discontinuity design, exploiting an arbitrary element to the credit provision rule which is based on rice land holding size. Although we find little evidence that rice yield or output is increased, we do see that the program has some positive effects on total household income, suggesting a positive spillover effect on other farm income activities.

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