As you sit in front of your screen, the thought of wild dangerous beasts in faraway places may sound quaint and take you to another era when Sandokan fought off ferocious felines or to the protection of innocence in the Life of Pi.
But less cinematic beasts such as wild boars can inflict significant economic hardship on poor farmers.
Based on a three-year panel dataset of households collected in rural Pakistan, we first quantify the extent to which farmers are vulnerable to attacks by wild boars; we then examine the impact of an intervention on households’ capacity to reduce related income losses. A local nongovernmental organization implemented the intervention as a randomized controlled trial at the beginning of the second survey year.
This experimental design enabled us to cleanly identify the impact of the intervention. We find that the intervention was highly effective in eliminating the crop-income loss of treated households in the second year, but that effects were not discernible in the third year. The finding from the third year could be due to the high implicit cost incurred by the households in implementing the treatment.
Regarding the impact of the intervention on a number of consumption measures, the difference-in-difference estimate for the impact on consumption was insignificant in the second year, but highly positive in the third year when estimated without other controls. A part of this consumption increase was because of changes in remittance inflows.
The overall results indicate the possibility that treatment in the absence of subsidies was costly for households due to hidden costs, and hence, the income gain owing to the initial treatment was transient.
Note: the “intervention” consists of farmers’ training that focuses on the awareness and prevention of wild beast attacks.
(When I think of boars in movies I can only think of Obelix eating them).