On Making Agricultural Markets work for the Poor: New Evidence from Ethiopia

  • Maria Quattri

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis contributes to the literature on making agricultural markets work for the poor, with specific reference to Ethiopia. It contains three substantive chapters, which may be read independently. The chapters use primary surveys with traders conducted in 2002 (chapters 2 and 3) and 2007 (all the chapters).Chapter 1 investigates Ethiopian traders' decision on whether and how much to use brokers. Results shine light on how the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), which recently formalized the brokerage functions, could be most beneficial for the functioning of agricultural markets. We show that the ECX could consider introducing new food crops in the trading system, offering warehouse receipt financing to its clients, and spreading the network of its warehouses throughout the country.Chapter 2 inquires whether the focus on technological and institutional upgrading is sufficient to make Ethiopian agricultural markets more efficient and if the existence of many small intermediaries causes market inefficiency. Findings suggest that, when transporters are used, transport costs could be reduced by avoiding trans-shipment, and reducing the number of times the transporter has to stop to allow for cargo loading and off-loading. No evidence is found for increasing returns to transaction size.Chapter 3 conceptualizes the notion of market integration as 'tradability' and analyses what determines the likelihood of market diversification among Ethiopian traders. The variables that are found to significantly impact on this probability are location (which is correlated with access to asphalt roads), availability of market information, traders' educational level, access to commercial finance and storage capacity. Results indicate that market fundamentals affected the likelihood of market diversification more in 2007, when prices were rapidly surging, than in 2001 when prices were decreasing.The findings of this thesis support the 'getting markets right' school, in that incentives, infrastructure and institutions are essential for market development, and long-distance coordination of market exchange can be achieved through public-private cooperation.
Date of Award31 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAdam Ozanne (Supervisor), Alastair Hall (Supervisor) & Xiaobing Wang (Supervisor)


  • Ethiopian agricultural markets
  • Market institutions
  • Transaction costs
  • Market efficiency
  • Tradability

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