nep-agr New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2008‒10‒13
nine papers chosen by
Angelo Zago
University of Verona

  1. Human capital investment and long-term poverty reduction in rural Mexico By Paul Winters; Vera Chiodi
  2. Impacts of Agricultural Trade Liberalization on Poverty: Sensitivity of Results to Factors Mobiliy Among Sectors By Gerard, F.; Piketty, M.G.
  3. Assessing the potential impact on poverty of rising cereals prices : the case of Mali By Joseph, George; Wodon, Quentin
  4. Programmes to Protect the Hungry: Lessons from India By Madhura Swaminathan
  5. Paradoxes of Traffic Flow and Economics of Congestion Pricing By Chengri Ding; Shunfeng Song; Yiling Zhang
  6. The Chilean agricultural transformation during the second half of the twentieth century: A story of institutional change By Antonio Saravia
  7. How would global trade liberalization affect rural and regional incomes in Australia? By Kym Anderson; James Giesecke; Ernesto Valenzuela
  8. The influence of Economics on agricultural systems: an evolutionary and ecological perspective By Kevin Marechal; Hélène Aubaret-Joachain; Jean-Paul Ledant
  9. Development and rural poverty in the Regions of the European Union (Sviluppo e povertà rurale nelle regioni dell'Unione Europea) By Paola Bertolini; Marco Montanari

  1. By: Paul Winters; Vera Chiodi
    Abstract: By focusing on human capital investment, the Mexican Oportunidades program will inuence the economic choices of the rural poor. To understand how bene_ciaries may alter their behaviour as a result of this intervention, this paper uses administrative data to analyze the economic activities of the Mexican rural poor. Results indicate that investments in education are likely to shift recipients from agricultural wage employment toward non-farm wage employment. The magnitude of this impact will be inuenced by household assets and by the location of the household. The results suggest the need for policies that complement the government's focus on human capital investment.
    Date: 2008
  2. By: Gerard, F.; Piketty, M.G.
    Abstract: The purposes of this paper are twofold (i) to evaluate changes in welfare gains and their distribution due to trade liberalization when imperfect labor markets are considered, (ii) to evaluate the impact of the recent reforms of European agricultural policy on the world welfare. The results of two versions of a dynamic world computable genaral equilibrium (CGE) model, usign the GTAP database version 6 are compared. In the first version, a standard world CGE approach is followed by perfect labor mobility across sectors. In the second version we assume that labor shift s freely within the aggregated sectors -agriculture, manufactures, services,- but not across them. After a brief description of the two versions, changes in welfare, represented not only by the world GDP but also by the consumption level of two types of household (middle-low and middle-high) in 7 regions (Brazil, China, India, Least developed countries, European Union, United States, Rest of the World) after partial trade liberalization are presented. Theoretical and political consequences of the results are discussed. ...French Abstract : Cet article a un double objectif (i) évaluer les modifications des gains de la libéralisation lorsque certaines imperfections des marchés du travail sont prises en compte, (ii) quantifier les impacts des réformes récentes de la Politique Agricole Commune. Deux versions d'un modèle mondial d'équilibre général, utilisant la base de données GTAP (version 6), sont utilisées à cet effet : dans la première l'hypothèse standard de mobilité parfaite du travail entre secteurs est adoptée, alors que dans la seconde on suppose que si le travail se déplace librement à l'intérieur de secteurs agrégés (agriculture, manufactures, services), il ne peut passer de l'un à l'autre. Après une brève description des principales caractéristiques des deux versions du modèle, les résultats obtenus dans des scénarii de libéralisation partielle, pour 7 régions du monde (Brésil, Chine, Inde, PMA, UE, USA, RDM) et deux types de ménages (riches et pauvres) sont présentés. Les conséquences théoriques et politiques sont ensuite discutées.
    JEL: D4 D5 E3 Q1
    Date: 2008
  3. By: Joseph, George; Wodon, Quentin
    Abstract: Concerns have been raised about the impact of rising food prices worldwide on the poor. To assess the (short term) impact of rising food prices in any particular country it is necessary to look at both the impact on food producers (who benefit from an increase in prices) and food consumers (who loose out when the price increases), with a focus on poor producers and consumers. In Mali the impact of a change in the price of rice is not ambiguous because about half of the rice consumed in the country is imported, so that the negative impact for consumers is much larger than the positive impact for producers. By contrast, for millet and sorghum, as well as corn, the impact is more ambiguous since much of the consumption is locally produced. Using a recent and comprehensive household survey, this paper provides an assessment of the potential impact of higher food prices on the poor in Mali using both simple statistical analysis and non-parametric methods. The paper finds that rising food prices for rice, millet and sorghum, corn, as well as wheat and bread could together lead to a substantial increase in poverty, with the increase in the price of rice having by far the largest negative impact.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Population Policies,Achieving Shared Growth,Food&Beverage Industry
    Date: 2008–10–01
  4. By: Madhura Swaminathan
    Abstract: Evidence on calorie intake and nutritional outcomes establishes that chronic hunger and food insecurity persist today on a mass scale in India. The liberalization-induced policy of narrow targeting of the Public Distribution System (PDS), a programme of food security that provides a minimum quantity of cereals at subsidized prices, has resulted in worsening food insecurity. Recent evidence from the 61st round of the National Sample Survey in 2004-2005 establishes that targeting has led to high rates of exclusion of needy households from the system and clear deterioration of coverage in States like Kerala where the universal PDS was most effective.
    Keywords: food security, targeting errors, India, liberalization, public distribution
    JEL: Q18 I38 O53
    Date: 2008–10
  5. By: Chengri Ding (Urban Studies and Planning Program, University of Maryland); Shunfeng Song (Department of Economics, University of Nevada, Reno); Yiling Zhang (Department of Economics, University of Nevada, Reno)
    Abstract: This paper utilizes a unique county-level dataset to examine technical efficiency and technology gap in China’s agriculture. We classify the counties into four regions with distinctive levels of economic development, and hence production technologies. A meta-frontier analysis is applied to the counties. We find that although the eastern counties have the highest efficiency scores with respect to the regional frontier but the northeastern region leads in terms of agricultural production technology nationwide. Meanwhile, the mean efficiency of the northeastern counties is particularly low, suggesting technology and knowledge diffusion within region might help to improve production efficiency and thus output.
    Keywords: China’s grain production; County-level; Metafrontier; Stochastic production frontier; Technical efficiency
    JEL: D24 N55 O13
    Date: 2008–09
  6. By: Antonio Saravia (American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)
    Abstract: The second half of the twentieth century witnessed a dramatic transformation of the Chilean agricultural sector. From accounting for only five percent of the value of Chile’s total exports in the late 1960s, agricultural exports grew to account for more than 30 percent of this value in the mid 1990s. Using a modified neoclassical growth formulation, we show that the transformation of the Chilean agricultural sector can be associated with institutional changes or modifications to the sector’s basic functioning structure. In particular, our historical review shows that changes in the definition of property rights over land, caused by the Chilean agrarian reform first and the general economic reform later, seem to have greatly caused the changes in the sector’s levels of investment and production.
    Keywords: Institutional Economics, Property Rights, Land Tenure, Agricultural Economics, Chile
    JEL: N56 O13 Q11 Q15
    Date: 2008–10
  7. By: Kym Anderson; James Giesecke; Ernesto Valenzuela
    Abstract: For decades rural Australia has been discriminated against by industrial policies at home and agricultural protectionism abroad. While agricultural export taxation in poor countries had the opposite impact, recent reforms there mean that that offsetting effect on Australia has diminished. There has also been some re-instrumentation of rich-country farm policies away from trade measures. This paper draws on new evidence to examine whether Australian farmers and rural regions are still adversely affected by farm price-distortive policies abroad, using a global and a national economy-wide model. The results vindicate the continuing push by Australia's rural communities for multilateral agricultural trade liberalization.
    Keywords: trade liberalisation, rural income, regional CGE
    JEL: F13 Q18 C68 R13
    Date: 2008–07
  8. By: Kevin Marechal (Centre Emile Bernheim, Solvay Business School, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels and CEESE, Université Libre de Bruxelles.); Hélène Aubaret-Joachain (Institut pour un Développement durable, Ottignies, Belgique); Jean-Paul Ledant (Institut pour un Développement durable, Ottignies, Belgique)
    Abstract: Putting agricultural systems on a more sustainable path is a crucial policy issue. Within that context, the objective of this paper is to show how the unsustainable character of current agricultural systems is strongly related to the prevailing rationale of mainstream economics and the Cartesian-Newtonian worldview on which it is founded. Using the example of the transformation of post-war agriculture in France, our analysis underlines the profound influence of the logic of mainstream economics on the modernisation of agricultural systems. The resulting transformation of agricultural systems based on the triptych specialisation-intensification-concentration is then further explored regarding its negative impacts in terms of sustainability. Particular attention is dedicated to environmental impacts, given their magnitude and the fact that mainstream economics, because of its “mechanistic reductionist” framework, has intrinsic difficulties in dealing with them. Since the fundamental assumptions of mainstream economics are being strongly challenged, it becomes legitimate to resort to an alternative economic framework for designing appropriate policies and measures. Given that many empirical studies demonstrates that agricultural systems may be locked-in to some extent, the choice an evolutionary line of thought in an ecological perspective is quite straightforward. This approach of economic change both underlines its historically-contingent nature and the role played by systemic interdependencies. Through underlining the path-dependence of agricultural systems, the use of the evolutionary framework in an ecological perspective allows us to shed a new light on their transformation by suggesting some strategies (i.e. niche accumulation and hybridisation) that have proven efficient in overcoming cases of lock-in in other fields.
    Keywords: Agricultural systems; Mechanistic reductionism; Evolutionary economics; Path-dependence and lock-in; Environmental pressures
    Date: 2008–10
  9. By: Paola Bertolini; Marco Montanari
    Abstract: The paper represents a first tentative analysis of the phenomenon of rural poverty in in the European Union's regions. In the first part, the paper discusses the problem of defining rural areas and examines the indicators used for international comparisons, notably the OECD definition, which provides the most widely used classification of rurality. Afterwards, we propose a different typology of rural and non-rural areas, based on population density and the share of employment in agriculture. Three categories of regions ("Predominantly Urban", "Intermediate" and "Predominantly Rural") are identified and then compared with regard to the following socio-economic aspects: income, demography, education and labour market. The analysis includes the whole EU-27 territory at NUTS3 level and uses EUROSTAT data, supplemented in some cases by national data. The conclusions of the paper underline the relevance of the rural poverty phenomenon in Europe.
    Keywords: rural poverty; European Union; rurality
    JEL: R10 R11 R23
    Date: 2008–06

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