"Folk' soil taxonomy and the partial adoption of new seed varieties

M. R. Bellon, J. E. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


This study examines the effect of the folk soil taxonomy on maize variety selection in a maize cradle area, Chiapas in southern Mexico. Section 1 provides a theoretical rationale for partial adoption on individual farms in an expected farm profit-maximization model when farmers perceive land quality to be heterogeneous. In Section 2 we construct a folk soil taxonomy and a land-quality ranking based on field data from Chiapas, and we present laboratory evidence that the folk taxonomy reflects scientific properties of soils. Econometric findings, reported in Section 3, support the hypothesis that the folk taxonomy shapes maize variety choice: farmers significantly match maize varieties with folk soil conditions in a predictable way. Controlling for land quality, farmers' ability to manage improved but management-intensive varieties and to finance modern farm inputs plays a role in shaping variety selection. Concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings for agricultural research and development policy. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)763-786
Number of pages24
JournalEconomic Development and Cultural Change
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


Dive into the research topics of '"Folk' soil taxonomy and the partial adoption of new seed varieties'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this