Pallavi Rajkhowa

Research themes
  • New Technologies
  • Markets and public services
  • Innovation, knowledge and science policy
Research countries
  • India
Additional information

Doctoral Research funded by: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Professional experience

Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) : 2015-2017

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) : 2012-2015

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) : 2010-2012

Thesis title

Mobile phones, agriculture technology platforms and electronic auctions: Implications of digital technology on agriculture performance and market efficiency

Thesis abstract

Access to markets is a major precondition for agriculture households to overcome subsistence and enhance their economic situation. However, due to high transaction costs, smallholder farmers are often unable to benefit from market participation. The situation is aggravated in developing countries due to infrastructure bottlenecks, less competitive marketing systems, asymmetric information, and risky transactions. Existing literature highlight that information and communication technologies (ICTs) have the potential to overcome some of these limitations by providing cost-effective communications that allow farmers to take advantage of untapped trade opportunities. Since 2000, there has been significant expansion of ICT in developing countries, consequently, several studies have investigated the effects of ICTs on small holder farmers’ market access and income. Most of these studies have focused on mobile phone as a tool for information dissemination and have shown a positive effect of market price information on rural household’s welfare. However, over the last few years, the use of ICTs has evolved with mobile phones being used as an instrument to deliver innovative mobile services and applications. Increasing use of machines and electronics, supported by cloud services, accessible, low-cost open source software and big data analytics has resulted in the emergence of innovative agriculture marketing models such as ICT enabled platforms that aggregate supply and demand by connecting producers to market through a digital interface. However, there is no empirical evidence on the implications of these new digital technologies. Therefore, this dissertation aims to add to existing literature on farmer’s market participation and use of ICT by specifically analysing the implications of different types of ‘digital technologies’ on agriculture performance and market efficiency .

The first chapter in this dissertation analyses the impact of wireless telephone services on rural off-farm employment in India. There is a growing body of literature which has investigated the effects of ICTs on small holder farmers’ marketing choice, income, price dispersion, bargaining and selling prices, consumption expenditure, nutrition and gender equality. However, smallholder farm households usually maintain a portfolio of income sources, with off-farm income being a major component. Access to wireless telephone services is also likely to affect off-farm decisions of the household. Therefore, this dissertation aims to add to the existing literature by studying the implications of wireless telephone services on the off-farm employment.

The second chapter adds to literature on agriculture extension, ICT and rural development by studying the implications of empowering farmer collectives with an agriculture technology platforms that provides digital agro-advisory services. In theory, digital agro-advisory services have the potential to provide real time, data driven and tailor made information so that farmers can make informed operational decisions such as season-wise types of crops to grow, and help plan cropping activities such as best time to sow seeds, apply inputs and harvest crops. All existing studies have analyzed the implications of mobile phones on welfare outcomes or have studied the implications of public extension services on agriculture outcomes but there are no studies that have analyzed the impacts of innovative mobile based extension services on agriculture performance. Therefore, the second chapter aims to bridge this gap in literature.

Further, the final chapter in this dissertation adds to existing literature on transaction costs by studying the implications of using electronic auctions (e-auction) as a tool to connect buyers and sellers of agriculture products and its role in price realization. In theory e-auctions promises to provide equal bargaining power, greater transparency, and reduce transaction costs and therefore improve market efficiency. The Government of India has initiated an electronic platform (e NAM) to connect buyers to sellers for better price discovery at the national level. However, there are no studies that have evaluated the implications of the transition from manual to electronic auctions. This dissertation will be the first study to analyse the implications of electronic auctions by doing a case study of tea value chain in India.

Doctoral research funded by


Supervisors of
doctoral work

Professor Joachim von Braun and Professor Matin Qaim

Advisor at ZEF

Dr. Zaneta Kubik


Ashok Gulati, Pallavi Rajkhowa, Pravesh Sharma.  2017.  Making Rapid Strides-Agriculture in Madhya Pradesh-Sources, drivers and policy lessons. 
Pratap S. Birthal;Ramesh Chand;P.K Joshi;Raka Saxena; Pallavi Rajkhowa; Md Tajuddin Khan; Mohd Arshad Khan; Khyali Chaudhary.  2017.  Formal versus informal:Efficiency, inclusiveness and financing of dairy value chains in Indian Punjab.  Journal of Rural Studies, Volume 54, August 2017 : 288-303 . Further Information


Suman Chakrabarti; Pallavi Rajkhowa.  2015.  What is the cost of providing one rupee of support to the poor?.  Economic Political Weekly, Vol. 50, Issue No. 52, 26 Dec, 2015 . Further Information

Additionals, Curriculum Vitae
and Downloads

Pallavi Rajkhowa

Junior Researcher

ZEF B: Department of Economic and Technological Change