nep-agr New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2011‒08‒02
28 papers chosen by
Angelo Zago
University of Verona

  1. Easy winnings? The economics of carbon sequestration in agricultural soils By Kragt, Marit Ellen; Pannell, David J.; Robertson, Michael J.; Thamo, Tas
  2. Estimating yield of food crops grown by smallholder farmers: A review in the Uganda context By Fermont, Anneke; Benson, Todd
  3. Agricultural management for climate change adaptation, greenhouse gas mitigation, and agricultural productivity: Insights from Kenya By Bryan, Elizabeth; Ringler, Claudia; Okoba, Barrack; Koo, Jawoo; Herrero, Mario; Silvestri, Silvia
  4. Agri-food supply chains and sustainability-related issues: evidence from across the Scottish agri-food economy By Leat, Philip M.K.; Lamprinopoulou-Kranis, Chrysa; Revoredo-Giha, Cesar; Kupiec-Teahan, Beata
  5. Simulating the impact of climate change and adaptation strategies on farm productivity and income: A bioeconomic analysis By Fofana, Ismael
  6. Gendered impacts of the 2007-08 food price crisis: Evidence using panel data from rural Ethiopia By Kumar, Neha; Quisumbing, Agnes R.
  7. Trading in turbulent times: Smallholder maize marketing in the southern highlands, Tanzania By Van Campenhout, Bjorn; Lecoutere, Els; D'Exelle, Ben
  8. Markets vs. Malthus: Food Security and the Global Economy By Cullen S. Hendrix
  9. Loss prevention for hog farmers: Insurance, on-farm biosecurity practices, and vaccination By Zhang, Yue-hua; Li, Chu-Shiu; Liu, Chwen-Chi; Chen, Kevin Z.
  10. Global Cotton Baseline 2010/11 - 2020/21 By Hudson, Darren; Pan, Suwen; Mutuc, Maria; Yates, Samantha; Ethridge, Don
  11. Heterogeneous treatment effects of integrated soil fertility management on crop productivity: Evidence from Nigeria By Kato, Edward; Nkonya, Ephraim; Place, Frank M.
  12. Agricultural extension services and gender equality: An institutional analysis of four districts in Ethiopia By Cohen, Marc J.; Lemma, Mamusha
  13. Export Restrictions and Price Insulation During Commodity Price Booms By Anderson, Kym; Martin, Will
  14. Socioeconomic Factors and Water Quality in California By Y. Hossein Farzin; Kelly A. Grogan
  15. Was the global food crisis really a crisis?: Simulations versus self-reporting By Headey, Derek
  16. Agriculture's role in the Indian enigma: Help or hindrance to the undernutrition crisis? By Headey, Derek; Chiu, Alice; Kadiyala, Suneetha
  17. Flexible insurance for heterogeneous farmers: Results from a small-scale pilot in Ethiopia By Hill, Ruth Vargas; Robles, Miguel
  18. DISTRIBUTION OF BEEF CATTLE IN SCOTLAND: HOW IMPORTANT IS AGRICULTURAL POLICY? By Renwick, Alan; Revoredo-Giha, Cesar; Thomson, Steven; Leat, Philip M.K.; Ringrose, Sian
  20. Adoption of weather index insurance: Learning from willingness to pay among a panel of households in rural Ethiopia By Hill, Ruth Vargas; Hoddinott, John; Kumar, Neha
  21. The Economics of Desertification, Land Degradation, and Drought; Toward an Integrated Global Assessment By Nkonya, Ephraim; Gerber, Nicolas; Baumgartner, Philipp; von Braun, Joachim; De Pinto, Alex; Graw, Valerie; Kato, Edward; Kloos, Julia; Walter, Teresa
  22. The price and trade effects of strict information requirements for genetically modified commodities: Under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety By Bouet, Antoine; Gruère, Guillaume; Leroy, Laetitia
  23. A Metafrontier Analysis of Technical Efficiency of Selected European Agricultures By Barnes, Andrew; Revoredo-Giha, Cesar
  24. Perspectives on Institutional Change â Water Management in Europe By Theesfeld, Insa; Pirscher, Frauke; Erik, Gawel; Wolfgang, Bretschneider; Herwig, Unnerstall; Nina, Hagemann; Andreas, Röhring; Timothy, Moss; Ludger, Gailing; Rita, Gudermann; Andreas, Thiel; Catrin, Egerton; Oscar, Schmidt
  25. What are the Enduring Effects of Fertilizer Subsidy Programs on Recipient Farm Households? Evidence from Malawi By Ricker-Gilbert, Jacob; Jayne, Thomas S.
  26. Chemical Fertilizer and Migration in China By Avraham Ebenstein; Jian Zhang; Margaret S. McMillan; Kevin Chen
  27. Assessing the livelihood impacts of a livestock disease outbreak: An alternative approach By Birol, Ekin; Ndirangu, Lydia; Roy, Devesh; Yakhshilikov, Yorbol
  28. Estimating Ricardian Models With Panel Data By Emanuele Massetti; Robert Mendelsohn

  1. By: Kragt, Marit Ellen; Pannell, David J.; Robertson, Michael J.; Thamo, Tas
    Abstract: Carbon sequestration in agricultural soil has been identified as a potential strategy to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Within the public debate, it has been claimed that provision of positive incentives for farmers to change their land management will result in substantial carbon sequestration in agricultural soils at a low carbon price. There is, however, little information about the costs or benefits of carbon sequestration in agricultural soils to test these claims. In this study,the cost-effectiveness of alternative land-use and land-management practices that can increase soil carbon sequestration is analysed by integrating biophysical modelling of carbon sequestration with whole-farm economic modelling. Results suggest that, for a case study model of a crop-livestock farm in the Western Australian wheatbelt, sequestering higher levels of soil carbon by changing rotations (to include longer pasture phases) incur considerable opportunity costs. Under current commodity prices, a profit-maximising farmer would require over $60 compensation for every additional tonne of CO2-e stored in soil, depending on their adoption of residue retention practices. Lower carbon prices are likely to generate only modest increases in soil carbon sequestration.
    Keywords: APSIM, Bioeconomic Modelling, Carbon Farming, Climate Change Mitigation, MIDAS, Soil Carbon Sequestration, Agricultural and Food Policy, Crop Production/Industries, Environmental Economics and Policy, Farm Management,
    Date: 2011–07–15
  2. By: Fermont, Anneke; Benson, Todd
    Abstract: Precise agricultural statistics are essential for planning and evaluation of agricultural investments to improve the productivity and profitability of smallholder farming systems. However, accurately estimating crop yields is never easy and is even more of a challenge in the context of African farming systems that are characterized by smallholder farms that produce a wide range of diverse crops. With specific reference to yield estimation for food crops under smallholder farming conditions in Uganda, this paper evaluates the various methods that are available to estimate crop production and cropped area in such farming systems. A description and summary tables from a database of estimated crop yields in Uganda that was collated from a large set of field studies over past decades are also provided.
    Keywords: agricultural statistics, crop yield, Data Collection, smallholder farming,
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Bryan, Elizabeth; Ringler, Claudia; Okoba, Barrack; Koo, Jawoo; Herrero, Mario; Silvestri, Silvia
    Abstract: Changes in the agriculture sector are essential to mitigate and adapt to climate change, ensure food security for the growing population, and improve the livelihoods of poor smallholder producers. What agricultural strategies are needed to meet these challenges? To what extent are there synergies among these strategies? This paper examines these issues for smallholder producers in Kenya. Several practices emerge as triple wins in terms of climate adaptation, GHG mitigation, and productivity and profitability. In particular, integrated soil fertility management and improved livestock feeding are shown to provide multiple benefits across the agroecological zones examined. In addition, irrigation and soil and water conservation are also shown to be essential in the arid zone. The results suggest that agricultural investments targeted towards triple-win strategies will have the greatest payoff in terms of increased resilience of farm and pastoralist households to climate change, rural development, and climate change mitigation for generations to come.
    Keywords: Adaptation, agricultural land management, Climate change, livestock feeding, mitigation, Resilience, synergies,
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Leat, Philip M.K.; Lamprinopoulou-Kranis, Chrysa; Revoredo-Giha, Cesar; Kupiec-Teahan, Beata
    Abstract: This paper examines the influence of agri-food supply chains on the sustainabilityrelated activities and decisions of Scottish farmers, as well as the treatment of sustainability issues by food processors and retailers themselves. It is based on 8 whole chain case studies covering some of Scotlandâs major agricultural products. The cases identify differing levels of understanding and activities related to sustainability, but widespread acknowledgement that sustainability involves the development of chains within which all parties can achieve acceptable profits. Indeed, collaborative supply chains, which seek improved economic performance, frequently assist environmental and social sustainability. The main drivers of sustainability are found to be the cost of key inputs, product markets where customers increasingly seek sustainability in products, the ethos and values of the businesses and people involved, and legislation and strategies of industry bodies. At the farm level, many farmers are seeking more sustainable production systems, particularly in economic and environmental terms, but there is a need for greater guidance and assistance. The paper presents a review of several key food supply sustainability issues, the methods and concepts used in compiling and analysing the cases, as well as the principal findings and implications for agri-food supply chain and policy development.
    Keywords: Sustainability, Food, Supply chain, Agribusiness, Food Security and Poverty,
    Date: 2011–04
  5. By: Fofana, Ismael
    Abstract: This study applied at the farm level in Tunisia aims at understanding the effects of climate change on agricultural productivity and income in Africa. Possible future climates are presented through different climate scenarios. The latter combines three levels of increasing temperature (1°centigrade (C), 2°C, and 3°C) with two levels of decreasing precipitation (10 and 20 percent) and a doubling of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere (350 to 700 parts per million). The farming system of production is replicated through a bioeconomic model; that is, one that couples a cropping system model and an economic model run sequentially. The study reveals that land productivity and farm income decline under climate change. Depending on the changes in precipitation, farm productivity falls by 15 to 20 percent and farm income 5 to 20 percent when the temperature increases moderately (1°C). As the climate warms up (2°C and 3°C), farm productivity and income are severely affected, by 35 to 55 percent and 45 to 70 percent, respectively. When simple adaptation strategies based on new management techniques for hard wheat are tested - more irrigation and fertilization - compensations for the negative effects of climate change are found to be worthwhile only for a 1°C increase in temperature. However, the success of adaptation strategies highly depends on the availability of more water and lower additional cost to mobilize them at the farm level.
    Keywords: adaptation strategies, Bioeconomic modeling, Agriculture, Climate change, farm income, productivity,
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Kumar, Neha; Quisumbing, Agnes R.
    Abstract: This paper provides empirical evidence on the gendered impact of the 2007–08 food price crisis using panel data on 1,400 households from rural Ethiopia that were initially surveyed before the onset of the crisis, in 1994–95, 1997, and 2004, and after food prices spiked, in 2009. It investigates whether female-headed households are more likely to report experiencing a food price shock, and whether female-headed households experiencing a shock are more (or less) likely to adopt certain coping strategies, controlling for individual, household, and community characteristics. Our findings suggest that female-headed households are more vulnerable to food price changes and are more likely to have experienced a food price shock in 2007–08. Because female-headed households are also resource poor and have a larger food gap compared with male-headed households, they cope by cutting back on the number of meals they provide their households during good months and eating less preferred foods in general. Our findings that land—particularly better quality land—has a protective effect against food price shocks also highlight the role of strengthening land rights of the poor, particularly poor women, to enable them to cope better with food price increases.
    Keywords: coping mechanisms, food price crisis, Gender,
    Date: 2011
  7. By: Van Campenhout, Bjorn; Lecoutere, Els; D'Exelle, Ben
    Abstract: The short-run effects of the 2007/2008 global food crisis on semisubsistence farmers' well-being in low-income countries depends on whether they are net sellers or net buyers of the affected commodities. Realizing that farmers face volatile prices over the course of an agricultural year, we analyze the timing of sales and purchases of maize. In addition, in our analysis, we depart from the oft-made assumption that farmers in rural villages are perfectly integrated within the wider economy. Comparing our results with a static analysis, we find that especially-poor farmers face greater losses from the maize food price crisis than others. The welfare impact is likely to be even more severe than previously thought, as the crisis hurts large households with relatively large numbers of children and women most. We also analyze the effects of factors that are likely to affect potential benefits from intertemporal and spatial price dispersion, such as means of transport, access to price information, and credit.
    Keywords: Food prices, intertemporal arbitrage, Market participation, spatial price dispersion,
    Date: 2011
  8. By: Cullen S. Hendrix (Peterson Institute for International Economics)
    Abstract: In the past four years, rising world food prices and the global economic downturn increased the ranks of the world’s food insecure from 848 million to 925 million by September 2010, reversing decades of slow yet steady progress in reducing hunger. While the human costs have been considerable, the political consequences have been significant as well, fueling concerns of two skeptical groups, Neo-Malthusians and food sovereignty advocates. Hendrix assesses the claims of both. On the Neo-Malthusian position, he finds that while population growth and economic development contribute somewhat to price increases, there are few structural, resource-based impediments to increasing aggregate agricultural production. The biggest near-term threats to food security are not dwindling agricultural inputs and agricultural trade, but rather the familiar problems of poverty and political barriers to market access—in particular, the distortions created by agricultural policy in the United States and European Union. A robust trading system is the best way to address current food security problems. In light of forecast changes in global patterns of agricultural productivity, a robust trading system will become even more important to ensuring that a world undergoing climate change will be able to feed itself.
    Date: 2011–07
  9. By: Zhang, Yue-hua; Li, Chu-Shiu; Liu, Chwen-Chi; Chen, Kevin Z.
    Abstract: Using agricultural household survey data and claim records from insurers for the year 2009, this paper analyzes hog producers' choice of means of loss prevention and identifies the relationships among biosecurity practices, vaccination, and hog insurance. By combining one probit and two structural equations, we adopt three-stage estimations on a mixed-process model to obtain the results. The findings indicate that biosecurity practices provide the basic infrastructure for operating pig farms and complement both the usage of quality vaccines and the uptake of hog insurance. In addition, there is a strong relationship of substitution between quality of vaccine and demand for hog insurance. Hog farmers that implement better biosecurity practices are more likely to seek high-quality vaccines or buy into hog insurance schemes but not both. For those households with hog insurance, better biosecurity status, better management practices, and higher-quality vaccine significantly help to reduce loss ratios. However, we also find a moral hazard effect in that higher premium expenditure by the insured households might induce larger loss ratios.
    Keywords: Biosecurity, hog insurance, loss prevention, vaccine,
    Date: 2011
  10. By: Hudson, Darren; Pan, Suwen; Mutuc, Maria; Yates, Samantha; Ethridge, Don
    Keywords: Global cotton outlook, Agribusiness, Agricultural and Food Policy,
    Date: 2011–03
  11. By: Kato, Edward; Nkonya, Ephraim; Place, Frank M.
    Abstract: This study compares the impacts of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) on crop production with use of either mineral fertilizer or organic manure alone. We also investigate the conditions under which .ISFM technology has greater beneficial effects on yields and the factors constraining its uptake. To answer these questions, the study uses a cross-sectional, plot-level data set collected in Nigeria by the International Food Policy Research Institute and the World Bank in 2009. Using both quasi experimental matching estimators and multivariate regression approaches, it finds that overall ISFM has robustly significant positive effects on crop production. The study also finds that ISFM positively affects crop production on plots with customary tenure, sandy soils, and clay soils—conditions that are normally perceived to be less favorable for crop production. The results also show ISFM to be more effective on plots with mild erosion or no erosion. On the constraints, we find that households with limited livestock, equipment, labor, and land are less likely to use ISFM technology, and the extension services currently do not seem to be disseminating ISFM. This evidence provides strong support for efforts to promote ISFM in Nigeria and in other regions with comparable conditions, but adequate attention must be paid to the biophysical conditions of the plots and the household's access to labor endowments, livestock, equipment, and tenure conditions if this technology is to be scaled up and more widely used in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Keywords: Crop production, Integrated soil fertility management, matching estimators,
    Date: 2011
  12. By: Cohen, Marc J.; Lemma, Mamusha
    Abstract: Decentralized delivery of public services has been promoted as a means to enhance citizen voice and make service provision more responsive to users. Ethiopia has undertaken two rounds of decentralization, making first the regional states and then the district governments responsible for providing key public services. This paper explores whether decentralization has improved the quality of service delivery and citizen satisfaction with the services provided, focusing on agricultural extension. Specifically, we examine whether services are responsive to the needs and expressed demands of poor farmers, including women farmers. We focus on the institutional arrangements through which agricultural extension services are provided and how these contribute to efficiency, effectiveness, and equity in service delivery.
    Keywords: agricultural extension, Decentralization, Gender, institutional analysis,
    Date: 2011
  13. By: Anderson, Kym; Martin, Will
    Abstract: For individual countries, variable trade barriers can be used to reduce the volatility of domestic relative to world prices. If this is done by countries accounting for a large share of the market, its effect is offset by increases in world price volatility. This study shows the nature of the resulting collective action problem, with the policy being ineffective on average in stabilizing domestic prices while increasing the volatility of the income transfers from terms-of-trade changes. A simple approach to assessing the contribution of insulation to the price increases is developed and used with new estimates of agricultural distortions to assess its contribution to the price spikes in 1972-4 and 2006-8 for rice and wheat. The analysis suggests that 45 percent of the increase in rice prices in 2006-8, and 30 percent of the increase in wheat prices, was due to insulating behavior. One sign of progress since 1972-74 was a substantial reduction in the extent of price-insulating behavior by the industrial countries. This provides little stabilizing benefit in the rice market because countries not classifying themselves at WTO as developing account for only 3 percent of world rice consumption, but it does offer some benefit for the wheat market where non-developing countries account for 27 percent of consumption.
    Keywords: Food price volatility; food security; insulating trade policies
    JEL: F13 Q17 Q18
    Date: 2011–07
  14. By: Y. Hossein Farzin (Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California); Kelly A. Grogan (Food and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida)
    Abstract: We investigate the relationships between water quality and socioeconomic factors in California at the county level for the years 1993 to 2006 using 24 water quality indicators coming from seven different types of water bodies. We estimate these relationships using three classes of models: the traditional per capita income-pollution level - Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) - specifications, a more inclusive model containing main socioeconomic variables such as agricultural intensity, land use, ethnic composition, population density and educational attainment, and a model that includes the socioeconomic variables while accounting for spatial correlations too. For most water quality indicators, we do not find support for EKC specifications. For pollutants like phosphorus and total suspended solids, the level of agricultural activity is a significant determinant of water quality in California, but for other surface water pollutants commonly considered agricultural pollutants, such as ammonia and nitrate, the level of agricultural activity is not statistically significant. We find that education, ethnic composition, age structure, land use, population density, and water area are all significantly correlated with various indicators of water quality.
    Keywords: Water Quality Indicators, Socioeconomic Variables, EKC, Agriculture, Industry
    JEL: Q53 Q56 Q58 C23
    Date: 2011–07
  15. By: Headey, Derek
    Abstract: Estimates by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the World Bank concerning the welfare impact of the 2007/08 global food crisis conclude that between 75 million and 160 million people were thrown into hunger or poverty. However, these simulation-based approaches suffer from inherent deficiencies as well as insufficient coverage of the largest developing countries, especially China and India. This paper therefore assesses the usefulness of an alternative to simulation-based approaches, self-reported food insecurity data from the Gallup World Poll (GWP), a survey conducted before, during, and after the 2007/08 crisis. While these data are still less than ideal, we show that trends in self-reported food insecurity are statistically explained by both food inflation (positively) and economic growth (negatively). This validation motivates us to employ the GWP data as a barometer for the welfare impacts of the global food crisis. Our findings suggest that while there was tremendous variation in trends across countries, global self-reported food insecurity fell from 2005 to 2008, with the most plausible lower- and upper-bound estimates ranging from 60 million to 250 million fewer food-insecure people over that period. These results are clearly driven by rapid economic growth and very limited food price inflation in the world's most populous countries, particularly China and India. Hence, self-reported indicators of food insecurity reveal a trend opposite that of simulation-based approaches.
    Keywords: global food crisis, Hunger, Poverty, self-reported indicators,
    Date: 2011
  16. By: Headey, Derek; Chiu, Alice; Kadiyala, Suneetha
    Abstract: In recent decades India has achieved one of the fastest economic growth rates in the world, yet its progress against both child and adult undernutrition has been sluggish at best. While this Indian variant of the so-called Asian enigma presents many puzzles, one of the puzzles pertains to agriculture's role. In this paper we reassess agriculture's role in the Indian enigma by exploring two key pathways, an income–consumption pathway and an employment–time use pathway, linking agricultural conditions to nutrition outcomes. On the income–consumption front, we assess whether rising incomes are improving diets and how agriculture and income growth are influencing the Indian diet. In terms of time use, we explore whether agricultural livelihoods hinder childcare practices and the health status of mothers. We conclude with a brief overview of nonagricultural constraints to improved nutrition and some analysis of the implications of our findings for agricultural policies in India.
    Keywords: adult and child undernutrition, Agricultural growth, Rural development,
    Date: 2011
  17. By: Hill, Ruth Vargas; Robles, Miguel
    Abstract: We analyze the effectiveness of a new approach in providing weather index–based insurance products to low-income populations. The approach is based on the concept of providing multiple weather securities that pay a fixed amount if the event written on the security (that monthly rainfall at a nearby weather station falls below a stated cutoff) comes true. A theoretical model is developed to outline the conditions in which weather securities could outperform crop-specific weather index–based insurance policies. Data collected during both an experimental game and real purchases of such insurance policies among farmers in southern Ethiopia suggest that the securities are well understood and can fit heterogeneous farmer needs. This paper documents (1) heterogeneity of rainfall risk among farmers, (2) the understanding of securities and transmission of information about weather securities among members of endogenously formed risk-sharing groups, and (3) the nature of purchasing decisions and manner in which they are made.
    Keywords: Arrow securities, weather index insurance,
    Date: 2011
  18. By: Renwick, Alan; Revoredo-Giha, Cesar; Thomson, Steven; Leat, Philip M.K.; Ringrose, Sian
    Abstract: If one observe aggregated cattle figures for Scotland for more than a century it is possible to perceive that that cattle numbers seem to react strongly to agricultural policy (e.g., livestock subsidies before 1973, UK becoming part to the European Community). The purpose the paper is to provide a regional view of this result, namely whether the same trend can be observed if the analysis is done by Scottish regions. For this purpose, we assembled a panel dataset for 11 Scottish regions for the period 1959 until 2008. We specialised the analysis on beef cattle. We use simple regression techniques to verify whether there have been changes in the regional shares of beef cattle and whether beef cattle numbers in the different regions tend to converge to a steady state value. The results indicate that the data can be broken down into two major periods: before and after the accession to the European Community (EC). Furthermore, in most of the regions, accession implied changes in the regional shares (although shares are very stable over time). In terms of the convergence analysis, it is clear that accession to the EC affected the regional beef cattle steady state values.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy,
    Date: 2011–04
  19. By: Revoredo-Giha, Cesar; Watts, D; Leat, Philip M.K.
    Abstract: Local food and its possibilities for addressing sustainable regional growth, food availability, accessibility and affordability has received considerable attention in the discussion on and development of the National Food Policy in Scotland. In terms of methodology, the paper continues the analysis of the local food database for Scotland constructed in Watts et al (2010) by exploring the marketing outlets used by the local food enterprises. This subject is important because it may provide information about the degree of entrepreneurship of the involved firms.
    Keywords: Local food, Scotland, marketing outlets, Marketing,
    Date: 2010–10
  20. By: Hill, Ruth Vargas; Hoddinott, John; Kumar, Neha
    Abstract: In this paper we examine which farmers would be early entrants into weather index insurance markets in Ethiopia, were such markets to develop on a large scale. We do this by examining the determinants of willingness to pay for weather insurance among 1,400 Ethiopian households that have been tracked for 15 years as part of the Ethiopia Rural Household Survey. This provides both historical and current information with which to assess the determinants of demand. We find that educated, rich, and proactive individuals were more likely to purchase insurance. Risk aversion was associated with low insurance take-up, suggesting that models of technology adoption can inform the purchase and spread of weather index insurance. We also assess how willingness to pay varied as two key characteristics of the contract were varied and find that basis risk reduced demand for insurance, particularly when the price of the contract was high, and that provision of insurance through groups was preferred by women and individuals with lower levels of education.
    Keywords: index-insurance, Risk, Willingness to pay (WTP),
    Date: 2011
  21. By: Nkonya, Ephraim; Gerber, Nicolas; Baumgartner, Philipp; von Braun, Joachim; De Pinto, Alex; Graw, Valerie; Kato, Edward; Kloos, Julia; Walter, Teresa
    Abstract: Land degradation has not been comprehensively addressed at the global level or in developing countries. A suitable economic framework that could guide investments and institutional action is lacking. This study aims to overcome this deficiency and to provide a framework for a global assessment based on a consideration of the costs of action versus inaction regarding desertification, land degradation, and drought (DLDD). Most of the studies on the costs of land degradation (mainly limited to soil erosion) give cost estimates of less than 1 percent up to about 10 percent of the agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) for various countries worldwide. But the indirect costs of DLDD on the economy (national income), as well as their socioeconomic consequences (particularly poverty impacts), must be accounted for, too. Despite the numerous challenges, a global assessment of the costs of action and inaction against DLDD is possible, urgent, and necessary. This study provides a framework for such a global assessment and provides insights from some related country studies.
    Keywords: Agricultural Finance, Crop Production/Industries, Environmental Economics and Policy, Land Economics/Use, Resource /Energy Economics and Policy,
    Date: 2011–05
  22. By: Bouet, Antoine; Gruère, Guillaume; Leroy, Laetitia
    Abstract: This paper assesses the global economic implications of the proposed strict documentation requirements on traded shipments of potentially genetically modified (GM) commodities under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. More specifically, we evaluate the trade diversion, price, and welfare effects of requiring all shipments to bear a list of specific GM events (the does contain rule) in the maize and soybean sectors. Using a spatial equilibrium model with 80 maize- and 53 soybean-trading countries, we show that information requirements would have a significant effect on the world market for maize and soybeans. But they would have even greater effects on trade, creating significant trade distortion that diverts exports from their original destination. The measure would also lead to significant negative welfare effects for all members of the Protocol and nonmembers that produce GM maize, soybeans, or both. While non-GM producers in Protocol member countries would benefit from this regulation, consumers and producers in many developing countries would have to pay a proportionally much heftier price for such a measure.
    Keywords: Cartagena protocol on biosafety, Genetically modified food, International trade,
    Date: 2011
  23. By: Barnes, Andrew; Revoredo-Giha, Cesar
    Abstract: Technical efficiency refers to the situation where it is impossible for a firm to produce, with the given know-how, (1) a larger output from the same inputs or (2) the same output with less of one or more inputs without increasing the amount of other inputs. In practice, the interest is on the relative position in terms of efficiency of a particular firm with respect to others. Therefore, technical efficiency is characterised by the relationship between observed production and some ideal or potential production (Greene, 1993). Although the beginning of the efficiency work can be traced to the 1950s (Farrell, 1957), there have been a growing interest on its use in benchmarking performance, predominantly as a means of identifying best practice and improving the efficiency of resource use within the agricultural industry (e.g., Defra 2004, SAC 2009). This paper deals with the estimation of technical efficiency for the agricultural sectors in several European countries and moreover, it aims to compare the efficiency amongst them using a metafrontier analysis. The use of this type of analysis is justified because a frontier, which represents the best available technology within a particular region/country cannot be strictly compared across other regions/countries, unless they operate under the same production set. The metafrontier analysis has been developed in a number of studies (Battese and Rao, 2002; Nkamleu et al., 2006; Chen and Song, 2006; OâDonnell et al., 2008.) The metafrontier analysis in this paper, which uses data from the Farm Accountancy data Network (FADN), was focused on four farm types: two specialised farming types (i.e., specialist cereals, oilseed and protein crops and specialist dairying) and two more mixed farming sets (i.e., general field cropping and mixed farms), and was applied to a total of 11 countries namely Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK. For most of the countries the information was available from 1995 until 2007, excepting Hungary and Poland, for which it was available only since 2004. Also note that not all the farm types were available for all the countries. The structure of the paper is as follows: it starts presenting an overview of the metafrontier analysis used to compare technical efficiency amongst the European countries. It is followed by the empirical work, which comprises a description of the data used, the estimation and discussion of the results. Finally we present conclusions.
    Keywords: Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies,
    Date: 2010–11
  24. By: Theesfeld, Insa; Pirscher, Frauke; Erik, Gawel; Wolfgang, Bretschneider; Herwig, Unnerstall; Nina, Hagemann; Andreas, Röhring; Timothy, Moss; Ludger, Gailing; Rita, Gudermann; Andreas, Thiel; Catrin, Egerton; Oscar, Schmidt
    Keywords: Agricultural Finance, Political Economy,
    Date: 2011
  25. By: Ricker-Gilbert, Jacob; Jayne, Thomas S.
    Abstract: This article uses panel data from Malawi to measure how receiving subsidized fertilizer in the current year and in previous years affects several different measures of household well-being. Our model accounts for potential endogeneity of subsidized fertilizer due to the non-random way in which it is distributed to recipients. Results indicate that receiving subsidized fertilizer in a given year raises maize and tobacco production as well as the net value of rainy-season crop production in that year. Receipt of subsidized fertilizer over the prior three seasons also has a significant positive effect on current year maize production. However, receipt of subsidized fertilizer in the prior three consecutive years has no discernable effect on the net-value of total crop production in the current year. Moreover, we find no evidence that prior or current receipt of subsidized fertilizer contributes to off-farm or total household income. Lastly, we find no significant evidence that receiving subsidized fertilizer raises farmersâ livestock and durable asset wealth. Potential general equilibrium benefits resulting from the subsidy program cannot be discounted, but the direct comparison of recipient and non-recipient households indicates that enduring effects of the subsidy beyond the year of receipt apply to maize production only and not to overall household income or asset wealth.
    Keywords: fertilizer subsidies, Malawi, Sub-Saharan Africa, endogeneity, panel data, International Development, Political Economy, C23, C26, Q12, Q13, Q18,
    Date: 2011–07
  26. By: Avraham Ebenstein; Jian Zhang; Margaret S. McMillan; Kevin Chen
    Abstract: This paper examines a possible connection between China’s massive rural to urban migration and high chemical fertilizer use rates during the late 1980s and 1990s. Using panel data on villages in rural China (1987-2002), we find that labor out-migration and fertilizer use per hectare are positively correlated. Using 2SLS, employing the opening of a Special Economic Zone in a nearby city as an instrument, we find that village fertilizer use is linked to contemporaneous short-term out-migration of farm workers. We also examine the long-term environmental consequences of chemical fertilizer use during this period. Using OLS, we find that fertilizer use intensity is correlated with future fertilizer use rates and diminished effectiveness of fertilizer, demonstrating persistency in use patterns, and suggesting that in areas with high use of fertilizer, the land is becoming less responsive. We also demonstrate that fertilizer use within a river basin is correlated with organic forms of water pollution, suggesting that industrialization has induced pollution in China both directly and through its impact on rural labor supply.
    JEL: O1 O13
    Date: 2011–07
  27. By: Birol, Ekin; Ndirangu, Lydia; Roy, Devesh; Yakhshilikov, Yorbol
    Abstract: Because of the substantive role played by livestock in the income and asset portfolios of the poor, livestock diseases can be an important threat to livelihoods. Yet for a variety of reasons, there are few applicable methods and consequently scant literature to assess the impacts of livestock diseases on livelihood outcomes. Existing literature comprises small-area studies and computable models with wider geographic focus, both of which have limitations in this specific context. We propose an alternative approach for estimating the impacts of livestock diseases on livelihoods. This proposed approach is an adaptation of a quasi-experimental impact evaluation method, namely propensity score matching, which uses features available in large-scale datasets with wide geographic coverage to create counterfactual scenarios that could mimic outcomes of a disease outbreak. By its construction the method is well suited for ex ante impact assessment. As an illustration we apply the method to the hypothetical case of an avian flu outbreak in Kenya.
    Keywords: Impact assessment, Livelihoods, livestock disease, Propensity score matching,
    Date: 2011
  28. By: Emanuele Massetti (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) and Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Climate Change (CMCC)); Robert Mendelsohn (Yale University)
    Abstract: Many nonmarket valuation models, such as the Ricardian model, have been estimated using cross sectional methods with a single year of data. Although multiple years of data should increase the robustness of such methods, repeated cross sections suggest the results are not stable. We argue that repeated cross sections do not properly specify the model. Panel methods that correctly specify the Ricardian model are stable over time. The results suggest that many cross sectional methods including hedonic studies and travel cost studies could be enhanced using panel data.
    Keywords: Climate Change, Impacts, Agriculture, Hedonic Models
    JEL: Q1 Q12 Q51 Q54
    Date: 2011–06

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