New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2011‒06‒25
seventeen papers chosen by

  1. Nudging Boserup? The impact of fertilizer subsidies on investment in soil and water conservation By Vondolia, Godwin K.
  2. Towards traceability in cocoa - chocolate supply chain By Syahruddin, Normansyah
  3. The Cost of Railroad Regulation: The Disintegration of American Agricultural Markets in the Interwar Period By Giovanni Federico; Paul Sharp
  4. Linking farmers to markets through valorisation of local resources:the case for intellectual property rights of indigenous resources By Bienabe, Estelle; Bramley, Cerkia; Kirsten, Johann; Troskie, Dirk
  5. Coping with food price hikes: strategies of the poor in Kandy, Sri Lanka By Sarath S. Kodithuwakku; Jeevika Weerahewa
  6. Rural Tourism Driving Regional Development in Tuscany. The Renaissance of the Countryside By Filippo Randelli; Patrizia Romei; Marco Tortora; Maria Tinacci Mossello
  7. Price Setting in a Leading Swiss Online Supermarket By Martin Berka; Michael B. Devereux; Thomas Rudolph
  8. Beyond knowledge brokerage: An exploratory study of innovation intermediaries in an evolving smallholder agricultural system in Kenya By Kilelu, Catherine W.; Klerkx, Laurens; Leeuwis, Cees; Hall, Andy
  9. Transformation of the Family under Rising Land Pressure: A Theoretical Essay By Catherine Guirkinger; Jean-Philippe Platteau
  10. The when and where of research in agricultural innovation trajectories: Evidence and implications from RIU's South Asia projects By Reddy, Vamsidhar; Hall, Andy; Sulaiman, Rasheed
  11. Malnutrition, Subsequent Risk of Mortality and Civil War in Burundi By Philip Verwimp
  12. The Effect of Land Scarcity on Farm Structure: Empirical Evidence from Mali By Catherine Guirkinger; Jean-Philippe Platteau
  13. Domestic Wheat Price Formation and Food Inflation in India By Dasgupta, Dipak; Dubey, R.N.; Sathish, R
  14. Unequal Property Rights: A study of land right inequalities in Rwanda By Isaksson, Ann-Sofie
  15. Economic Costs of Ocean Acidification: A Look into the Impacts on Shellfish Production By Daiju Narita; Katrin Rehdanz; Richard S.J. Tol
  16. How do consumers react in front of individual and combined sustainable food labels? A UK focus group study By Sirieix, L.; Delanchy, M.; Remaud, H.; Zepedad, L.
  17. Looking backward to look forward: water use and economic growth from a long-term perspective By Rosa Duarte; Vicente Pinilla; Ana Serrano

  1. By: Vondolia, Godwin K. (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: The new fertilizer subsidies in Sub-Saharan Africa are intended to increase agricultural production and ensure fertilizer market development. Fertilizer adoption requires complementary inputs such as investment in soil and water conservation for efficient and optimal nutrient uptake, and many fertilizer subsidy programmes implicitly assume that fertilizer subsidies crowd in such investments. The present study, therefore, evaluates the impact of fertilizer subsidies on the provision of soil and water conservation efforts in Ghana. The results indicate that beneficiaries of the studied fertilizer subsidy programme do not invest significantly more in soil and water conservation, which advises against excessive reliance on farmers to respond to fertilizer subsidies with substantial investment in soil and water conservation. Thus, in order to achieve increased investment in soil and water conservation for sustainable agricultural development, more comprehensive measures that include these investments explicitly (such as integrated soil fertility management programmes) may be needed.
    Keywords: soil and water conservation; soil fertility; fertilizer subsidy; endogenous switching
    JEL: N57 Q15 Q18
    Date: 2011–06–15
  2. By: Syahruddin, Normansyah
    Abstract: The multi – events of food alerts and food risks which occurred in a lengthy period and various locations, grows concern of consumers to question the safety of the food that they consumed. For food producers, occurrences of food alert forced them to review their supply chain to identify what went wrong in their supply chain. To do this, they need a good traceability system that capable in revealing the problems occurred along the chains. In general, a typical food supply chain is consists of farmers, middlemen, manufactures, retailers and consumers, which can be represent by cocoa – chocolate supply chain. This paper is the initial stage in identifying cocoa – chocolate supply chain and proposes a conceptual framework on its traceability system. Moreover, this paper aims at linking the traceability to performances of the chains as a driver to reach sustainability.
    Keywords: Cocoa; Chocolate; Supply Chain; Traceability; Conceptual Paper
    JEL: Q10
    Date: 2011–03–10
  3. By: Giovanni Federico (European University Institute, Firenze); Paul Sharp (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: We investigate the costs of transportation regulation using the example of agricultural markets in the United States. Using a large database of prices by state of agricultural commodities, we find that the coefficient of variation (as a measure of market integration between states) falls for many commodities until the First World War. We demonstrate that this reflected changes in transportation costs which in turn in the long run depended on productivity growth in railroads. 1920 marked a change in this relationship, however, and between the First and Second World Wars we find considerable disintegration of agricultural markets, ultimately as a consequence of the 1920 Transportation Act. We argue that this benefited railroad companies in the 1920s and workers in the 1930s, and we put forward an estimate of the welfare losses for the consumers of railroad services (i.e. agricultural producers and final consumers).
    Keywords: market integration; price convergence; United States; agriculture; transportation regulation
    JEL: K23 L51 N5 N7
    Date: 2011–06
  4. By: Bienabe, Estelle; Bramley, Cerkia; Kirsten, Johann; Troskie, Dirk
    Abstract: This is the scientific report from a research programme which explored the current lack of a suitable public system for protecting GIs in Southern Africa. In contrast to the European Union, the current South African legal framework only provides for the protection of GIs as collective and, in certain circumstances, as certification trademarks. The lack of a public system through which to valorize GIs was identified as excluding resource poor farmers (but also commercial larger scale farmers) from a potentially useful tool for improving their market access. The need for a public system of protection also emanates from the significance of the wild resources found in South Africa and Namibia, which are often the only source of income for resource poor communities and which is threatened by bio‐piracy. It thus appeared important to assess the merits of developing an institutional framework for protecting GIs in Southern Africa and to evaluate the needs for a sui generis legal system. Secondly, an analysis was done of the local dynamics based on specific agro‐food products. Two central questions were therefore addressed in this study: "How can local communities successfully protect their resources and differentiate their production through GIs?" and "What is the nature and extent of the required institutional and legal framework to achieve this objective?”.
    Keywords: Geographical indications; indigenous resources; intellectual property rights; collectivae action; Southern Africa
    JEL: Q13 O13
    Date: 2011–04
  5. By: Sarath S. Kodithuwakku; Jeevika Weerahewa (University of Peradeniya)
    Abstract: The objectives of this study are to assess: (i) the resource profile of the vulnerable households in Kandy district in Sri Lanka, (ii) food consumption pattern of the households, (iii) the coping strategies adopted by the households during the times of food price hikes, (iv) the usefulness and effectiveness of coping strategies adopted by the household, and (v) the factors that influence the decisions made by households to change their food consumption patterns in crisis situations.
    Keywords: Food hikes, Kandy, Sri Lanka
    JEL: F1
    Date: 2011–05
  6. By: Filippo Randelli (Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche); Patrizia Romei (Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche); Marco Tortora (Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche); Maria Tinacci Mossello (Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche)
    Abstract: After the crisis of the traditional agricultural system in the 50’s, starting from the 80’s rural tourism is driving the renaissance of Tuscan countryside. The empty spaces of rural areas, which characterise the agricultural landscape, show a new set of functions developed by and for the tourist field. The Tuscany Region was the first Italian region to recognize the new trend of the integrated rural development so that in 1985 it stated the first regional law on agritourism. In this context Tuscany is the one of the first Italian and European regions committed to the development of rural areas. This paper recognizes the leading role of Tuscany in the development of rural areas and tourism and shows the relationships between tourism and local sustainable development in rural areas through a case study. In the first part there is a historical analysis of the evolution of the tourism in rural areas, of the strengths of the Tuscan model in this field, and of the relationship between identity and local resources for the sustainable development of tourism (the topic of rural tourism may be analyzed from a local development point of view). In the second part there is the introduction of a case study developed in a rural area characterized by the “typical” Tuscan landscape, the presence of art cities, and a high-quality supply of services and products such as food and wine. The analysis is based on quantitative and qualitative methodologies that helped us outline the network of tourist centres and study tourism in rural Tuscany. Then there is an analysis of competition capacities and potentialities of the local area to understand if and how these depend more or less on the network structure or on local resources. At the end the paper underlines the strengths and weaknesses of rural tourism in Tuscany, one of the leading region of the European project NECSTOUR, and outlines possible future regional policies in support of the sector.
    Keywords: rural tourism, regional development, sustainable tourism, Tuscany
    JEL: O18 Q26 Q56 R11
    Date: 2011
  7. By: Martin Berka; Michael B. Devereux; Thomas Rudolph
    Abstract: We study a newly released data set of scanner prices for food products in a large Swiss online supermarket. We find that average prices change about every two months, but when we exclude temporary sales, prices are extremely sticky, changing on average once every three years. Non-sale price behavior is broadly consistent with menu cost models of sticky prices. When we focus specifically on the behavior of sale prices, however, we find that the characteristics of price adjustment seems to be substantially at odds with standard theory.
    JEL: E3
    Date: 2011–06
  8. By: Kilelu, Catherine W. (RIU, Communication and Innovation Studies Group, Wageningen University); Klerkx, Laurens (Communication and Innovation Studies Group, Wageningen University); Leeuwis, Cees (Communication and Innovation Studies Group, Wageningen University); Hall, Andy (RIU, LINK, Open University, and UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: The recognition that innovation occurs in networks of heterogeneous actors and requires broad systemic support beyond knowledge brokering has resulted in a changing landscape of the intermediary domain in an increasingly market-driven agricultural sector in developing countries. This paper presents findings of an explorative case study that looked at 22 organisations identified as fulfilling an intermediary role in the Kenyan agricultural sector. The results show that these organisations fulfill functions that are not limited to distribution of knowledge and putting it into use. The functions also include fostering integration and interaction among the diverse actors engaged in innovation networks and working on technological, organisational and institutional innovation. Further, the study identified various organisational arrangements of innovation intermediaries with some organisations fulfilling a specialised innovation brokering role, even as other intermediaries take on brokering as a side activity, while still substantively contributing to the innovation process. Based on these findings we identify a typology of 4 innovation intermediation arrangements, including technology brokers, systemic brokers, enterprise development support and input access support. The results indicate that innovation brokering is a pervasive task in supporting innovation and will require policy support to embed it in innovation support arrangements. The paper is not normative about these arrangements.
    Keywords: Smallholder agriculture, innovation intermediaries, agriculture innovation, knowledge brokers, Kenya
    JEL: L26 L32 N5 N57 O13 O19 O31 O32 O55 Q12 Q13 Q16
    Date: 2011
  9. By: Catherine Guirkinger (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur); Jean-Philippe Platteau (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur)
    Abstract: If we understand well the individualization of land tenure rules under conditions of growing land scarcity and increased market integration, much less is known about the mode of evolution of the farm-cum-family units possessing the land. Inspired by first-hand evidence from West Africa, this paper argues that these units undergo the same process of individualization governed by the same forces as property rights in land. It provides a simple theoretical account of the coexistence of different forms of family when farms are heterogenous in land endowments and technology is stagnant. The paper also offers analytical insights into the sequence following which such forms succeed each other.
    Date: 2011–05
  10. By: Reddy, Vamsidhar (RIU); Hall, Andy (RIU, LINK, Open University, and UNU-MERIT); Sulaiman, Rasheed (RIU)
    Abstract: The question of how agricultural research can best be used for developmental purposes is a topic of some debate in developmental circles. The idea that this is simply a question of better transfer of ideas from research to farmers has been largely discredited. Agricultural innovation is a process that takes a multitude of different forms, and, within this process, agricultural research and expertise are mobilised at different points in time for different purposes. This paper uses two key analytical principles in order to find how research is actually put into use. The first, which concerns the configurations of organisations and their relationships associated with innovation, reveals the additional set of resources and expertise that research needs to be married up to and sheds light on the sorts of arrangements that allow this marriage to take place. The second - which concerns understanding innovation as a path-dependent, contextually shaped trajectory unfolding over time - reveals the changing role of research during the course of events associated with the development and diffusion of products, services and institutional innovations. Using these analytical principles, this paper examines the efforts of the DFID-funded Research Into Use (RIU) programme that sought to explore the agricultural research-into-use question empirically. The paper then uses this analysis to derive implications for public policy and its ongoing efforts to add value to research investments.
    Keywords: Agricultural Innovation, Value Chain Innovation, Research Into Use, South Asia, Innovation Trajectories, Research for Development, Policy
    JEL: N55 O13 O19 O22 O31 O32 O33 O53 Q13 Q16
    Date: 2011
  11. By: Philip Verwimp
    Abstract: The paper investigates the effect of child malnutrition on the risk of mortality in Burundi, a very poor country heavily affected by civil war. We use anthropometric data from a longitudinal survey (1998-2007). We find that undernourished children, as measured by the height-for-age z-scores (HAZ) in 1998 had a higher probability to die during subsequent years. In order to address the problem of omitted variables correlated with both nutritional status and the risk of mortality, we use the length of exposure to civil war prior to 1998 as a source of exogenous variation in a child’s nutritional status. Children exposed to civil war in their area of residence have worse nutritional status. The paper finds that one year of exposure translates into a 0.15 decrease in the HAZ, resulting in a 10% increase in the probability to die for the whole sample as well as a 0.34 decrease in HAZ per year of exposure for boys only, resulting in 25% increase in the probability to die. We show the robustness of our results. Food and income transfer programs during civil war should be put in place to avoid the long-term effects of malnutrition.
    Keywords: malnutrition; mortality; children; war; Africa; instrumental variables
    Date: 2011–06
  12. By: Catherine Guirkinger (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur); Jean-Philippe Platteau (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur)
    Abstract: We analyze the individualization of farm units in Mali in the sense of a transformation of purely collective farms into mixed units in which private plots coexist with collective fields. While a moral-hazard-in-team problem plagues production on the latter, a dilemma arises insofar as the household head extracts his income form it. The head thus faces a trade-off between efficiency and capture. We show, within the framework of a patriarchal farm household model, that the choice is tilted toward private plot as land becomes more scarce. On the basis of first hand data collected in Southern Mali, we test and confirm the above prediction. Moreover, the relationship between land scarcity and the presence of individual plots holds only when there are at least one married couple (besides the head) within the household. The explanation we put forward is that the presence or suspicion of labour-shirking on the collective field arise only when there are interferences by in-laws and differences in the size of conjugal units.
    Date: 2011–05
  13. By: Dasgupta, Dipak; Dubey, R.N.; Sathish, R
    Abstract: Inflation, especially in food prices, has been persistently high in India during the past twenty four months. This has been a source of concern to policy-makers. Fortunately, food price increases are now starting to ease, after the major spike that occurred in the wake of the severe drought of 2009. However, there still remains concern that we: (a) need to better understand the factors that drive such spikes in key prices; and (b) design more effective policies to prevent such future price spikes. The main approach to understanding inflation and its drivers has typically rested, on the whole, in assessing aggregate macroeconomic (aggregate supply and demand) conditions, which then typically leads to consideration of macroeconomic and monetary) policies as the principal tool to deal with inflation surges. That may indeed be appropriate in most circumstances, but is often a blunt, sometimes costly instrument that can stifle growth, especially if price pressures arise from (temporary) supply constraints. Therefore, it may be important to complement an aggregate macroeconomic analysis of inflation with microeconomic analysis: to ascertain if inflation is being driven by specific price spikes in important food and non-food commodities, which has the potential to drive other commodity prices in a cost-push manner. This paper, on global wheat market developments, price transmission and impacts on Indian domestic markets, as well as an assessment of public policies to manage domestic prices, is part of a larger effort to improve our in-house (Department of Economic Affairs) research---to track, monitor and forecast fast-moving key macro-economic variables with potentially large consequences for public policy. We have begun to intensify our efforts. We are investing further systematically---to understand growth and inflation dynamics in the context of rising food inflationary pressures in India and worldwide. We are capturing more high frequency data, and applying quantitative modeling tools (as evident in our current Economic Survey). We take up wheat in this paper, because of recent rapid price rises globally, as well as domestically, and because it constitutes a major element of the overall wholesale and consumer food price inflation indices. Some aspects of the price formation and policy intervention processes in wheat are also likely to be structurally similar for other similar classes of important food items (such as rice), permitting broader insights. Our paper draws upon existing theoretical insights and modeling attempts in the literature; it is, nevertheless, useful to note three “biases” in our approach: (a) favoring analysis of short-term, high-frequency price formation (daily, monthly, or quarterly), versus alternative longer-term annual, structural models; (b) favoring simplified reduced form forecasting models that track high-frequency turning points well, over more elaborate models and tests of longerduration time-series data (which may tend to be more historical and backward-looking, and less useful for short-term forecasting); and (c) assessing current India-specific public interventions in greater detail, than in more general academic papers and models.
    Keywords: English
    JEL: E31 G15 E37
    Date: 2011–05–15
  14. By: Isaksson, Ann-Sofie (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: The aim of the present paper is to examine the existence and patterns of systematic within-country inequalities in effective land rights in Rwanda. The results of empirical estimations drawing on data on the land tenure arrangements of over 5,000 Rwandan households indeed suggest systematic within-country inequalities in land rights, with households headed by women or young individuals, households that have been displaced due to conflict, and households in the Imidugudu village settlements reporting significantly weaker rights than their respective comparison groups. The observed inequalities are not only the result of variation in tenure arrangements, but also exist when comparing households cultivating plots under similar land tenure regimes. Finding within-country inequalities in effective property rights highlights the need to – unlike much of the quantitative literature in the field – carefully evaluate how property rights apply to different segments of a country’s population. For Rwanda, which is in the process of implementing an extensive land reform, this is especially relevant.
    Keywords: property rights; land rights; inequality; Rwanda
    JEL: D02 K11 O12 O55 Q15 R14 R52
    Date: 2011–06–15
  15. By: Daiju Narita; Katrin Rehdanz; Richard S.J. Tol
    Abstract: Ocean acidification is increasingly recognized as a major global problem. Yet economic assessments of its effects are currently almost absent. Unlike most other marine organisms, mollusks, which have significant commercial value worldwide, have relatively solid scientific evidence of biological impact of acidification and allow us to make such an economic evaluation. By performing a partial-equilibrium analysis, we estimate global and regional economic costs of production loss of mollusks due to ocean acidification. Our results show that the costs for the world as a whole could be over 100 billion USD with an assumption of increasing demand of mollusks with expected income growths. The major determinants of cost levels are the impacts on the Chinese production, which is dominant in the world, and the expected demand increase of mollusks in today’s low-income countries, which include China, in accordance with their future income rise
    Keywords: Climate Change, Economic Impact, Mollusks, Ocean Acidification
    JEL: Q51 Q54 Q57
    Date: 2011–06
  16. By: Sirieix, L.; Delanchy, M.; Remaud, H.; Zepedad, L.
    Abstract: A lot of sustainable food labels are now available. They may be complementary or add to the increasing competition of product information in consumers' minds. This paper investigates (1) two focus groups consumers' perceptions about sustainable labels versus other labels, such as origin or nutrition labels, and (2) consumers' reactions to combinations of different sustainable claims or labels. Overall, findings indicate that there is interest in combining different claims into a single label. However, the results also indicate the importance of familiarity, trust and, fit between combinations of labels as well as between a label associated with a brand. While the combination of certain labels can enhance the value of a food product, this study also indicates that other label combinations can detract from a label's value. ...French Abstract : De nombreux produits alimentaires avec des labels "durables" sont proposés aujourd'hui aux consommateurs. Ils peuvent être complémentaires ou à l'opposé augmenter la concurrence entre les différents éléments d'information dans l'esprit des consommateurs. Cet article étudie les perceptions qu'ont des consommateurs interrogés lors de deux focus groups au Royaume-Uni, des labels durables par comparaison à d'autres labels (nutrition ou origine), et leur réaction à des combinaisons de messages et de labels durables. De façon générale, les résultats indiquent qu'il est utile de combiner plusieurs messages sur un même label. Cependant l'étude montre aussi l'importance de la familiarité, de la confiance, de la cohérence perçue entre labels ou entre un label et une marque associée. Certaines combinaisons peuvent en effet faire perdre de la valeur à un label durable au lieu de lui en donner.
    JEL: D10 D80 M31 Q01
    Date: 2011
  17. By: Rosa Duarte (Universidar de Zaragoza); Vicente Pinilla (Universidad de Zaragoza); Ana Serrano (Universidad de Zaragoza)
    Abstract: Recent research has examined the relationship between natural resources and economic growth. Considered vitally important, not only for humanity’s well-being but also for ecosystem integrity, the relationship between water use and economic growth has traditionally garnered little attention by analysts. This paper studies water use trends from 1900 to 2000 throughout the world, and their main determinants. To do this, we first analyse historical water use trajectories. Second, to proceed with the determinants of water use, we reformulate the IPAT equation (Ehrlich and Holdren, 1971; Commoner et al. 1971), decomposing water use trends into changes in economic demands and in water use intensity. Finally, a simple scenario analysis is conducted, to project future water use trends under different economic, demographic and technological assumptions. The empirical evidence shows that economic and population growth have been crucial for explaining the increase in water use over the past 100 years, with significant regional differences. Nevertheless, the decline in water use intensity has been responsible for a significant reduction in the growth of total water use.
    Keywords: Water use, environmental impacts, economic growth, IPAT model, scenario analysis
    JEL: Q56 Q57 N50
    Date: 2011–06

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.