nep-agr New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2010‒04‒04
eight papers chosen by
Angelo Zago
University of Verona

  1. The Food Assistance Landscape, FY 2009 Annual Report By Oliveira, Victor
  2. Supermarkets, farm household income, and poverty: Insights from Kenya By Elizaphan J.O. Rao; Matin Qaim
  3. Do Food Stamps Contribute to Obesity in Low-Income Women? Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 By Maoyong Fan
  4. Energy Use in the U.S. Food System By Canning, Patrick; Charles, Ainsley; Huang, Sonja; Polenske, Karen R.; Waters, Arnold
  5. Telesupport Experiment for Agricultural Information Management in West Bengal, India By Goswami, Rupak; Ghosh Roy, Jhumpa; Ghose, Jhulan
  6. Transaction, Search and Switching Costs: An Expository Essay By Singh, Nirvikar
  7. A Commodity Curse? The Dynamic Effects of Commodity Prices on Fiscal Performance in Latin America By Medina, Leandro
  8. Education and the Vulnerability to Food Inadequacy in Timor-Leste By Raghbendra Jha; Tu Dang

  1. By: Oliveira, Victor
    Abstract: This report examines trends in USDAâs food and nutrition assistance programs through fiscal 2009. It also discusses a recent ERS report that examines the prevalence, severity, and characteristics of food insecurity in households with children.
    Keywords: Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), National School Lunch Program, WIC, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, food security, ERS, USDA, Agricultural and Food Policy, Health Economics and Policy,
    Date: 2010–03
  2. By: Elizaphan J.O. Rao (Georg-August University Goettingen); Matin Qaim (Georg-August University Goettingen)
    Abstract: The expansion of supermarkets in developing countries may have far-reaching consequences for poverty and rural development. While previous studies have compared farm profits between participants and non-participants in supermarket channels, wider household welfare effects have hardly been analyzed. Moreover, structural differences between the two groups have been ignored. We address these issues by using endogenous switching regression and building on a survey of vegetable farmers in Kenya. Participation in supermarket channels is associated with a 50% gain in average household income, leading to significant poverty reduction. To realize these benefits on a larger scale will require institutional and policy support.
    Keywords: supermarkets; household income; sample selection; endogenous switching regression; Kenya; Africa
    Date: 2010–03–24
  3. By: Maoyong Fan (Department of Economics, Ball State University)
    Abstract: Does the Food Stamp Program (FSP), which provides in-kind transfers to low- income Americans, cause female participants to become obese? This question is particularly important because participants are substantially more likely to be obese than are nonparticipants. This paper estimates the effects of food stamp benefits on obesity, overweight and body mass index (BMI) of low-income women. Contrary to previous results, we find little evidence that the FSP causes obesity, overweight or higher BMI. Our analysis differs from previous research in three aspects. First, we exploit a rich longitudinal data set, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, to distinguish between full-time and part- time participation. Second, instead of making parametric assumptions on outcomes, we employ a variety of difference-in-difference matching estimators to control for selection bias. Third, we estimate both short-term (one-year participation) and long-term (three-year participation) treatment effects. Empirical results show that after controlling for selection bias and defining the treatment and comparison groups carefully, there is little evidence that food stamps are responsible for higher BMI or obesity in female participants. Our estimates are robust to different definitions of the treatment and comparison groups, and to various matching algorithms.
    Keywords: Food Stamp Program, Obesity, Body Mass Index, Propensity Score Matching
    Date: 2010–03
  4. By: Canning, Patrick; Charles, Ainsley; Huang, Sonja; Polenske, Karen R.; Waters, Arnold
    Abstract: Energy is an important input in growing, processing, packaging, distributing, storing, preparing, serving, and disposing of food. Analysis using the two most recent U.S. benchmark input-output accounts and a national energy data system shows that in the United States, use of energy along the food chain for food purchases by or for U.S. households increased between 1997 and 2002 at more than six times the rate of increase in total domestic energy use. This increase in food-related energy flows is over 80 percent of energy flow increases nationwide over the period. The use of more energy-intensive technologies throughout the U.S. food system accounted for half of this increase, with the remainder attributed to population growth and higher real (inflation-adjusted) per capita food expenditures. A projection of food-related energy use based on 2007 total U.S. energy consumption and food expenditure data and the benchmark 2002 input-output accounts suggests that food-related energy use as a share of the national energy budget grew from 14.4 percent in 2002 to an estimated 15.7 percent in 2007.
    Keywords: energy use, energy technologies, food expenditures, input-output analysis, population change, structural decomposition analysis, supply chain analysis, Resource /Energy Economics and Policy,
    Date: 2010–03
  5. By: Goswami, Rupak; Ghosh Roy, Jhumpa; Ghose, Jhulan
    Abstract: The article describes the experimentation of Change Initiatives, an Indian NGO of sub-regional scope, with the application of ICT in agricultural information management under the EU sponsored TeleSupport Project at Nadia district of West Bengal, India. During the project period an innovative mechanism of information management was experimented to facilitate two-way interaction between expert and client system with the involvement of local community. To sustain the two-way communication system two mobile and one fixed telecentre were established in the project area. The web resource created for sustaining the project hosted a large number of good practices, inspired numerous interactions among the stakeholders and facilitated diffusion of several agro-technologies. Large number of organizations and experts also joined the network. Within the project period, a considerable number of villagers including rural women and youth could be reached periodically with relevant agricultural information. Information related to crop management, livestock management, marketing etc. were professionally provided to the villagers. In spite of the initial success of the experimentation in terms of people’s participation and magnitude of information created and exchanged, the project could not achieve sustainability in the long run. Lack of e-readiness, lack of appropriate resource persons among the stakeholders, absence of any explicit incentive system within the organizational context, constraints of human resources and fund caused failure of the project. Despite of its failure it has been successful in empowering people, especially the Muslim women of the area. The information management system tried during the project may be tried in many rural communities of third world countries with necessary modifications.
    Keywords: information and communication technology (ICT); agricultural information management; telecentres; TeleSupport project; India
    JEL: Q16 D8
    Date: 2010–03–04
  6. By: Singh, Nirvikar
    Abstract: This essay provides an elementary, unified introduction to the impacts of transaction, search and switching costs on resource allocation in competitive markets. The emphasis is on incorporating these phenomena into models of price-taking behavior, rather than the more usual treatments with imperfect competition.
    Keywords: transaction costs; search costs; switching costs; competitive markets; price-taking
    JEL: D11 D83
    Date: 2010–03–22
  7. By: Medina, Leandro
    Abstract: The recent boom and bust in commodity prices has raised concerns about the impact of volatile commodity prices on Latin American countries’ fiscal positions. Using a novel quarterly dataset─ which includes unique country specific commodity price indices and a comprehensive measure of public expenditures─ this paper analyzes the dynamic effects of commodity price fluctuations on fiscal revenues and expenditures for 8 commodity exporting Latin American countries. The results indicate that Latin American countries’ fiscal positions generally react strongly to shocks to commodity prices, yet there are marked differences across countries in observed reactions. Fiscal variables in Venezuela display the highest sensitivity to commodity price shocks, with expenditures reacting significantly more than revenues. On the other side of the spectrum, Chile’s fiscal indicators react very little to commodity price fluctuations, and their dynamic responses are very similar to those seen in high-income commodity exporting countries. A plausible explanation to this distinct behavior across countries could be related to the efficient application of fiscal rules, accompanied by strong institutions, political commitment and high standards of transparency.
    Keywords: Latin America; Emerging Economies; Commodity Prices; Fiscal Policy; Macroeconomics; Procyclicality; Procyclical; Dynamic Effects;Government Spending
    JEL: E62 H50 O13
    Date: 2010–01
  8. By: Raghbendra Jha; Tu Dang
    Abstract: This paper uses a simple empirical approach to estimate vulnerability to food inadequacy using a cross-section data from the 2001 Timor-Leste Living Standard Measurement Survey. This measurement is based on the assumption that households are exposed to the same kind of shock. We find that the distribution of vulnerability to food inadequacy over education of household head is more significant than that of observed food poverty. Our results support the argument that senior primary and tertiary education can help reduce the food risk that households face, i.e., the risk that a household is undernourished. Thus, public spending on these forms of education can provide a form of buoy that favors the poor in Timor-Leste.
    Keywords: poverty, vulnerability, cross-section data, Timor-Leste
    JEL: C21 C23 I32 O57
    Date: 2010

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