nep-agr New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2006‒11‒12
eleven papers chosen by
Angelo Zago
Universita degli Studi di Verona

  1. Genetically Modified Maize, Biodiversity, and Subsistence Farming in Mexico. By Joachim Zietz; R. Alan Seals
  2. Analysis of the Link between Ethanol, Energy, and Crop Markets, An By Tokgoz, Simla; Elobeid, Amani
  3. Water transfers in El Paso County, Texas By Fullerton, Thomas
  4. The Economics of Smallholder Households in Tobacco and Cotton Growing Areas of the Zambezi Valley of Mozambique By Rui Benfica; Julieta Zandamela; Arlindo Miguel; Natérica de Sousa
  5. Food Stamps and Food Insecurity Among Families with Children: What Can Be Learned in the Presence of Non-classical Measurement Error? By Gundersen, Craig; Kreider, Brent
  6. The silence of the lambs By Anders Skonhoft
  7. The Control of Land Rent in the Fortified Farming Town By John Hartwick
  8. A Principal-Agent Model for Evaluating the Economic Value of a Beef Traceability System: A Case Study with Injection-site Lesions Control in Fed Cattle By Resende-Filho, Moises; Buhr, Brian
  9. Determinants of Moral Hazard in Microfinance: Empirical Evidence from Joint Liability Lending Programs in Malawi By Simtowe, Franklin; Zeller, Manfred
  10. A scatter search procedure for maximizing the net present value of a project under renewable resource constraints By M. VANHOUCKE
  11. The Carbon Kuznets Curve. A Cloudy Picture Emitted by Bad Econometrics? By Wagner, Martin

  1. By: Joachim Zietz; R. Alan Seals
    Abstract: Concern over the loss of genetic diversity in the world’s field crops has increased due to the commercial introduction of genetically modified crops. Mexico is particularly sensitive to this issue, as it is the center of genetic diversity for maize and home to a large number of indigenous farmers who propagate this diversity. This paper analyzes to what extent the biodiversity of maize may be endangered as subsistence farmers are forced off their land. Off-farm migration is suggested as a potential rational response of farmers to the large and rapidly growing imports of maize from the U.S., a large share of which consists of genetically modified maize. The maize imports from the U.S. are seen not only as worsening the terms of trade of subsistence farmers but also as raising the risk of lower yields as indigenous varieties of maize may lose their resilience to environmental stress through contamination with genetically modified maize.
    Keywords: genetically modified maize, biodiversity, maize imports, subsistence farming, supply response of farmers, off-farm migration, Mexico.
    JEL: Q1 Q2 F18
    Date: 2006–11
  2. By: Tokgoz, Simla; Elobeid, Amani
    Abstract: This study analyzes the impact of price shocks in three input and output markets critical to ethanol: gasoline, corn, and sugar. We investigate the impact of these shocks on ethanol and related agricultural markets in the United States and Brazil. We find that the composition of a country’s vehicle fleet determines the direction of the response of ethanol consumption to changes in the gasoline price. We also find that a change in feedstock costs affects the profitability of ethanol producers and the domestic ethanol price. In Brazil, where two commodities compete for sugarcane, changes in the sugar market affect the competing ethanol market.
    Keywords: agricultural markets, energy, ethanol, renewable fuels.
    Date: 2006–11–01
  3. By: Fullerton, Thomas
    Abstract: Water rights transfers for surface water have taken place in El Paso County in far west Texas for many decades. Historically, these exchanges have primarily occurred between agricultural water users. In recent decades, there have also been trnsfers from agricultural uses to urban uses. Ongoing commercial and demographic expansion in the El Paso metropolitan economy increases the likelihood of additional farm-to-municipal tranfers in future years. Although legal mechanisms have periodically been introduced to allow these exchanges to occur, pricing has not played a central role in the process. At present, water transfers in El Paso county occur under fairly rigid conditions.
    Keywords: Regional economic growth; surface water rights transfers
    JEL: Q25 R11
    Date: 2006
  4. By: Rui Benfica (Department of Agricultural Economics, Michigan State University); Julieta Zandamela; Arlindo Miguel; Natérica de Sousa
    Abstract: This paper is the first output generated with the data collected in that survey. It is a descriptive piece that focuses on identifying and presenting a snapshot of the rural economy in the Zambezi Valley cash cropping economies. It makes it by presenting key statistics on selected representative characteristics of rural households in both cotton and tobacco growing areas. For each of those areas, the tabular and graphical results are broken down into growers versus nongrowers of those key cash crops. Although not analytical, the paper sheds light in a number of issues of concern in cash cropping economies in the region.
    Keywords: food security, food policy, tobacco, cotton, household, Zambezi Valley, Mozambique
    JEL: Q18
    Date: 2005
  5. By: Gundersen, Craig; Kreider, Brent
    Abstract: The Food Stamp Program, designed to alleviate food insecurity and hunger, takes a central role in the U.S. social safety net. Given this role, policymakers have been puzzled to observe that food stamp households appear more likely to be food insecure than observationally similar eligible nonparticipating households. We reexamine this issue given the potential for classification errors in program participation and food insecurity. Extending the emerging literature on corrupt samples, we introduce a nonparametric framework for assessing what can be inferred about conditional probabilities when a binary outcome and a binary conditioning variable are both subject to non-classical measurement error. We derive easy-to-compute sharp bounds under various assumptions about the nature and degree of classification errors. Surprisingly small degrees of misreporting are sufficient to overturn the prevailing conclusion that food stamp participation is associated with greater food insecurity.
    Keywords: Food Stamp Program, food insecurity, measurement error, nonparametric bounds, corrupt sampling
    JEL: I3 H5 I1
    Date: 2006–10–30
  6. By: Anders Skonhoft (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: A model analyzing the economics of sheep farming is formulated. The basic idea is simple. Sheep are capital and they are held by farmers as long as their capital value exceeds their slaughter, or meat, value. The farmers are therefore portfolio managers aiming to find the optimal combination of different categories of animals and the yields are compared with the yields from other assets. The model is formulated within a Northern Scandinavian economic and biological setting with a crucial distinction between the outdoors grazing season and the indoors season, and with adult sheep and lambs being different categories. In the first step, the management problem is analyzed with only the meat income of the farmers taken into account. In the next step, income from wool production is considered as well. The analysis provides several results that differ from standard harvesting theory.
    Keywords: natural resource modeling; sheep farming
    Date: 2006–10–06
  7. By: John Hartwick (Queen's University)
    Abstract: We consider costly administration at the center of a farming community surrounding a fortified village. Land rent taxation is high cost mode of financing central administration in a tax incidence sense. Participatory administration by the governed is a lower cost alternative. We speculate why the low cost option has been out-competed by its higher cost alternative throughout history. We also take up constraints on predation on farmers by a landlord at the center.
    Keywords: administrative structure, public goods, welfare cost
    JEL: H41 H11
    Date: 2006–10
  8. By: Resende-Filho, Moises; Buhr, Brian
    Abstract: This article investigates the economic value and the optimal expected traceback rate of success for a traceability system with a case study of injection-site lesions in fed cattle in the US. By maintaining the identity of the feedlot owners corresponding to retail beef cuts, a traceability system enables the employment of incentive mechanisms by a meat packer to overcome supply chain information asymmetry. Results of this article show that the first-best action of producers may be induced by meat packers with incentive mechanisms created with a low expected traceback rate of success. This suggests that even inexpensive traceability systems may induce appropriate actions by producers and objectives of inducing compliance by suppliers may be less costly than objectives of recall.
    Keywords: Information Asymmetry; Identity Preservation; Meat Traceability; Supply Chain Management
    JEL: D82 D86 C61
    Date: 2006–10–14
  9. By: Simtowe, Franklin; Zeller, Manfred
    Abstract: Moral hazard is widely reported as a problem in credit and insurance markets, mainly arising from information asymmetry. Although theorists have attempted to explain how group lending with joint liability can be an important tool for mitigating moral hazard among the poor, empirical studies are rare and sometimes give mixed results. In Malawi, for example, although, group lending with joint liability has been practiced for nearly four decades, the unwillingness to repay loans remains the single major cause of default. This paper examines the extent of occurrence of moral hazard and investigates its determinants of occurrence among joint liability lending programs from Malawi, using group level data from 99 farm and non-farm credit groups. Results reveal that peer selection, peer monitoring, peer pressure, dynamic incentives and variables capturing the extent of matching problems explain most of the variation in the incidence of moral hazard among credit groups. The implications are that joint liability lending institutions will continue to rely on social cohesion and dynamic incentives as a means to enhancing their performance which has a direct implication on their outreach, impact and sustainability.
    Keywords: moral hazard; joint liability; dynamic incentives; group lending; Malawi
    JEL: M21 M20
    Date: 2006–10–12
  10. By: M. VANHOUCKE
    Abstract: In this paper, we present a meta-heuristic algorithm for the well-known resource-constrained project scheduling problem with discounted cash flows. This optimization procedure maximizes the net present value of project subject to the precedence and renewable resource constraints. The problem is known to be NP-hard. We investigate the use of a enhanced bi-directional generation scheme and a recursive forward/backward improvement method and embed them in a meta-heuristic scatter search framework. We generate a large dataset of project instances under a controlled design and report detailed computational results. The solutions and project instances can be downloaded from a website in order to facilitate comparison with future research attempts.
    Keywords: Resource-constrained project scheduling; Net present value; Scatter search
    Date: 2006–10
  11. By: Wagner, Martin (Department of Economics and Finance, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Austria)
    Abstract: In recent years many empirical studies of environmental Kuznets curves employing unit root and cointegration techniques have been conducted for both time series and panel data. When using such methods several issues arise: the effects of a short time dimension, in a panel context the effects of cross-sectional dependence, and the presence of nonlinear transformations of integrated variables. We discuss and illustrate how ignoring these problems and applying standard methods leads to questionable results. Using an estimation approach that addresses the second and third problem we find no evidence for an inverse U-shaped relationship between GDP and CO2 emissions.
    Keywords: Carbon Kuznets Curve, Panel data, Unit roots, Cointegration, Cross-sectional dependence, Nonlinear transformations of regressors
    JEL: C12 C13 Q20
    Date: 2006–11

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