RRBM Honor Roll

The RRBM Honor Roll publications have been selected as examples of research that is both rigorous and relevant. The listing below offers credible insights for society.

These publications have been selected for the RRBM Honor Roll by the Selection Board with the exception of 2019 articles selected by a pre-test review panel.


Nature of the publicationJournal article
Title of the publication“The impact of unifying agricultural wholesale markets on prices and farmers’ profitability”
Journal name/Book publisherProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

As a leading effort to improve the welfare of smallholder farmers, several governments have led major reforms in improving market access for these farmers through online agricultural platforms. Leveraging collaboration with the state government of Karnataka, India, this paper provides an empirical assessment on the impact of such a reform—implementation of the Unified Market Platform (UMP)—on market prices and farmers’ profitability. UMP was created in 2014 to unify all trades in the agricultural wholesale markets of the state to be carried out within a single platform. By November 2019, 62.8 million metric tons of commodities valued at $21.7 billion (USD) have been traded on UMP. Employing a difference-in-differences method, we demonstrate that the impact of UMP on modal prices varies substantially across commodities. In particular, the implementation of UMP has yielded an average 5.1%, 3.6%, and 3.5% increase in the modal prices of paddy, groundnut, and maize. Furthermore, UMP has generated a greater benefit for farmers who produce higher-quality commodities. Given low profit margins of smallholder farmers (2 to 9%), the range of profit improvement is significant (36 to 159%). In contrast, UMP has no statistically significant impact on the modal prices of cotton, green gram, or tur.

Author #1Retsef Levi
Affiliation Author #1MIT
Author #2Manoj Rajan
Affiliation Author #2Rashtriya e Market Services Private Limited
Author #3Somya Singhvi
Affiliation Author #3University of Southern California
Author #4Yanchong Zheng
Affiliation Author #4MIT