Pallavi Rajkhowa

Research themes
  • New Technologies
  • Markets and services
  • Innovation 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


2017-present  (submission in 2021): Ph.D. candidate in Agricultural Economics. Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany 

2008-2010: M.A in Economics, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (Pune, India)

2005-2008: B.A (Honors) in Economics, University of Delhi (New Delhi, India)

Thesis title

Personalized digital extensions services, electronic marketplaces, and mobile phones: Implications of digital technologies for rural development in India.

Thesis abstract

In developing countries, the cost of acquiring information is substantially high because information is either limited, unevenly distributed, or inefficiently transmitted. Information problems have important consequences on how individuals and markets behave in the absence of perfect information. Often it results in the inability to carry out mutually beneficial exchange and may lead to inefficiencies in the allocation of resources. Under these circumstances, a key policy question for promoting rural development and poverty reduction in the context of developing countries is: how information constraints faced by rural households can be overcome? One potential mechanism to reduce information constraints is the use of digital technologies, which build on information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as internet platforms and mobile phones. In this context, this dissertation empirically analyses the implications of three types of digital technologies― personalized digital extension services, electronic marketplaces, and mobile phones― on various development outcomes in India, such as agriculture performance, efficiency in agro-based commodity markets, rural off-farm opportunities, and gender outcomes.

The first essay focuses on an example of a digital technology that reduces information barriers on the input-side of farm production. Using primary observational data from India, this essay analyses the effects of personalized digital extension services on smallholder agricultural performance. Here, problems of selection bias in the impact evaluation are reduced through propensity score matching combined with estimates of farmers’ willingness to pay for digital extension. The results show that the use of personalized digital extension services significantly increases input intensity, production diversity, crop productivity, and levels of commercialization. Total crop income is increased by 25%.

The second essay explores the effects of using a digital tool to connect buyers and sellers in the output market. Using high-frequency monthly data from 2000 to 2017 and applying a fixed-effects approach with Driscoll and Kraay standard errors to deal with spatial and temporal correlation, this essay provides empirical evidence on the effects of the introduction of electronic markets on prices, spikes in prices, and price dispersion of an agro-based commodity―tea― in India. Consistent with search theory, the results suggest that the introduction of electronic markets reduced prices and spikes in tea prices by about 2% between 2000 and 2017. Further electronic marketplaces initially increased price dispersion between markets by about 11-14%, but over time it reduced by 16%.


Subsequently, the third essay analyses the effect of mobile phones on off-farm employment. Using nationally representative panel data from rural India and regression models with household fixed effects and an instrumental variable approach this essay tests the hypothesis that ownership of a mobile phone increases rural households’ off-farm employment. The results suggest that mobile phone ownership significantly increases the likelihood of participating in various types of off-farm employment, including casual wage labour, salaried employment, and non-agricultural self-employment. The effects of mobile phones are significant for all types of rural households but tend to increase with the level of remoteness.

Finally, the fourth essay analyses the effects of mobile phones on gender outcomes. In many developing countries informal institutions (social and gender norms), structural impediments (inadequate and poor quality of roads and transport systems), and security considerations often restrict women's mobility. In this context, where women are physically and economically isolated, mobile phones promise to be an effective instrument to connect them to markets and services by improving access to information, mobilizing interpersonal networks, influencing attitudinal attributes, and improving physical mobility. Using nationally representative data from India collected in 2011-12 and applying an instrumental variable approach, the results suggest that mobile phones have a positive and significant effect on women's mobility and access to reproductive healthcare services. The disaggregated analysis suggests that the effect is higher for women from poor households as compared to that of non-poor households. Even for those women who live in a relatively conservative community and are required to exercise seclusion, mobile phones have a significant and positive effect.


Doctoral research funded by


Supervisors of
doctoral work

Professor Joachim von Braun and Professor Matin Qaim

Advisor at ZEF

Dr. Zaneta Kubik


Gulati A., P. Rajkhowa, R. Roy and P. Sharma.  2021.  Performance of Agriculture in Madhya Pradesh.  In: Ashok Gulati, Ranjana and Roy Shweta Saini (eds.): Revitalizing Indian Agriculture and Boosting Farmer Incomes. Springer.   (Open Acess)  Further Information
Hoda, A., A. Gulati, H. Wardhan and P. Rajkhowa.  2021.  Drivers of Agricultural Growth in Odisha.  In: Ashok Gulati, Ranjana and Roy Shweta Saini (eds.): Revitalizing Indian Agriculture and Boosting Farmer Incomes. Springer.   (Open Acess)  Further Information
Hoda, A., A. Gulati, S. Jose and P. Rajkhowa.  2021.  Sources and Drivers of Agricultural Growth in Bihar.  In: Ashok Gulati, Ranjana and Roy Shweta Saini (eds.): Revitalizing Indian Agriculture and Boosting Farmer Incomes. Springer.   (Open Acess)  Further Information
Pallavi Rajkhowa and Zaneta Kubik.  2021.  Revisiting the relationship between farm mechanization and labour requirement in India.  Indian Economic Review, . (Open Access)   Further Information
Rajkhowa P. and M. Qaim.  2021.  Personalized digital extension services and agricultural performance: Evidence from smallholder farmers in India.  PLOS ONE, 10 (16)   . (Open Access)   Further Information


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

Private website:

Department :
ZEF B: Department of Economic and Technological Change

diptarajkhowa(at) ; pallavirajkhowa(at)