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Mr. Lorenzo Casaburi
Sustainability Science Program
Kennedy School of Government
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Office: 502 Rubenstein Building
Group affiliation: Doctoral Research Fellow in Sustainability Science
Lorenzo Casaburi is a Doctoral Fellow in Sustainability Science and a doctoral candidate in the Economics Department at Harvard University. Lorenzo is contributing to collaborative work with the Initiative on Integrated Use of Land and Water Resources for Sustainable Development led by Professor N. Michele Holbrook. His main fields of interest are development economics and international trade. His current research focuses on the impact of environmental stress on farmers' decision making in Western Kenya. Other areas explored include technology diffusion in social networks and a lab experiment on the determinants of public good provision. Lorenzo is a recipient of the Giorgio Ruffolo Doctoral Fellowship in Sustainability Science (2007) and a doctoral fellowship in the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy at Harvard. Before coming to Harvard he worked as a research evaluation consultant at the Poverty Action Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and for several nongovernmental organizations in Kenya focusing on the evaluation of health and education interventions in rural areas. Casaburi holds a degree in Economics magna cum laude from the University of Bologna (2004) and was a visiting student at the Department of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley in 2003-04. His faculty host is Michael Kremer.
Contract farming, environmental stress, and agricultural dynamics in western Kenya
This project uses data from administrative records of a large Kenyan sugarcane contract farming scheme to study productivity and land allocation patterns between 1987 and 2006. Using information on about 15,000 producers, close to the whole population of plots active at any time during the time span of the sample, we assess the static and dynamic impact of rainfall shocks on individual and aggregate productivity. In a preliminary step, we characterize the static impact of rainfall on yields and how this effect varies across plot sizes and baseline productivity. Using farmer level information, we then exploit the longitudinal nature of the data to shed light on the effect of rainfall shocks on agricultural dynamics. In particular we focus on the impact on i) subsequent crop allocation decisions; ii) land transfers; iii) reallocation across farmers with different output per hectare. Preliminary results suggest the presence of a "cleansing effect" of recessions: negative rainfall shocks lead to a reduction in the size of large, low productive plots and an increase in transfers of land toward farmers with higher residual output per hectare.