nep-agr New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2011‒10‒01
thirteen papers chosen by
Angelo Zago
University of Verona

  1. "Access to Markets and Farm Efficiency: A Study of Rice Farms in the Bicol Region, Philippines" By Sanjaya DeSilva
  2. Economic models of shifting cultivation: a review By Yoshito Takasaki
  3. The Food Crises: A quantitative model of food prices including speculators and ethanol conversion By Marco Lagi; Yavni Bar-Yam; Karla Z. Bertrand; Yaneer Bar-Yam
  4. Assessing safety net readiness in response to food price volatility By Grosh, Margaret; Andrews, Colin; Quintana, Rodrigo; Rodriguez?Alas, Claudia
  5. Market integration, competitiveness and efficiency in urban vs. rural markets: male and female flower trading farms in West Bengal By Sarker, Debnarayan; Chakraborty, Sanjukta
  6. "Robin Hook": The Developmental Effects of Somali Piracy By Anja Shortland
  7. The Price Effects of Cash Versus In-Kind Transfers By Jesse M. Cunha; Giacomo De Giorgi; Seema Jayachandran
  8. Hungry for Justice: Social Mobilization on the Right to Food in India By Shareen Hertel
  9. Are grain markets in Niger driven by speculation? By Catherine ARAUJO BONJEAN; Catherine SIMONET
  10. Social safety nets in fragile states : a community-based school feeding program in Togo By Andrews, Colin; Galliano, Elena; Turk, Carolyn; Zampaglione, Giuseppe
  11. Demand for gasoline is more price-inelastic than commonly thought By Havranek, Tomas; Irsova, Zuzana; Janda, Karel
  12. Got Water? Social Divisions and Access to Public Goods in Rural India By Balasubramaniam, Divya; Chatterjee, Santanu; Mustard, David B.
  13. Maintaining the Common Pool: Voluntary Water Conservation in Response to Increasing Scarcity By Emma Aisbett; Ralf Steinhauser

  1. By: Sanjaya DeSilva
    Abstract: This paper presents an empirical investigation of the relationship between the spread, spatially and temporally, of market institutions and improvements in the productivity and efficiency of farmers. The data used in this study were collected over two decades in a sample of rice farms in the Bicol Region of the Philippines. Our estimates reveal a significant inverse relationship between distance from the market and farm productivity and efficiency in 1983. While there are substantial improvements in yields, unit costs, and efficiency in the two decades that followed, the gains are larger in the more remote and sparsely populated villages. This finding suggests that the relationship between remoteness and farm outcomes has weakened over time. We also find that the development of markets in the peripheral villages and the improved connectivity between the peripheral villages and market centers are facilitated by population growth, infrastructural investments (specifically, irrigation and roads), and the availability of agricultural extension programs.
    Keywords: Farm Efficiency; Agricultural Markets; Institutional Conditions; Philippines
    JEL: O12 O13 Q12
    Date: 2011–09
  2. By: Yoshito Takasaki
    Abstract: This chapter reviews farm-level economic models of shifting cultivation and those of deforestation and soil conservation related to shifting cultivation. Although economists have made significant progress in modeling shifting cultivation over the last two decades, extant economic models neither clearly distinguish between primary and secondary forests nor address potential roles of on-farm soil conservation in shifting cultivation. Developing a unified farm model of primary forest clearing, forest fallowing, and on-farm soil conservation is needed to examine effective policies for protecting primary forest and maintaining sustainable secondary fallow forest. The chapter points to promising avenues for future modeling.
    Date: 2011–09
  3. By: Marco Lagi; Yavni Bar-Yam; Karla Z. Bertrand; Yaneer Bar-Yam
    Abstract: Recent increases in basic food prices are severely impacting vulnerable populations worldwide. Proposed causes such as shortages of grain due to adverse weather, increasing meat consumption in China and India, conversion of corn to ethanol in the US, and investor speculation on commodity markets lead to widely differing implications for policy. A lack of clarity about which factors are responsible reinforces policy inaction. Here, for the first time, we construct a dynamic model that quantitatively agrees with food prices. The results show that the dominant causes of price increases are investor speculation and ethanol conversion. Models that just treat supply and demand are not consistent with the actual price dynamics. The two sharp peaks in 2007/2008 and 2010/2011 are specifically due to investor speculation, while an underlying upward trend is due to increasing demand from ethanol conversion. The model includes investor trend following as well as shifting between commodities, equities and bonds to take advantage of increased expected returns. Claims that speculators cannot influence grain prices are shown to be invalid by direct analysis of price setting practices of granaries. Both causes of price increase, speculative investment and ethanol conversion, are promoted by recent regulatory changes---deregulation of the commodity markets, and policies promoting the conversion of corn to ethanol. Rapid action is needed to reduce the impacts of the price increases on global hunger.
    Date: 2011–09
  4. By: Grosh, Margaret; Andrews, Colin; Quintana, Rodrigo; Rodriguez?Alas, Claudia
    Abstract: In 2008, when food prices rose precipitously to record highs, international attention and local policy in many countries focused on safety nets as part of the response. Now that food prices are high again, the issue of appropriate responses is again on the policy agenda. This note sets out a framework for making quick, qualitative assessments of how well countries'safety nets prepare them for a rapid policy response to rising food prices should the situation warrant. The framework is applied using data from spring 2011, presenting a snap?shot analysis of what is a dynamically changing situation. Based on this data safety net readiness is assessed in 13 vulnerable countries based on the following criteria: the presence of safety net programs, program coverage, administrative capacity, and to a lesser degree, targeting effectiveness. It is argued that these criteria will remain the same throughout time, even if the sample countries affected will be expected to vary. Based on thisanalysis the note highlights that though a number of countries are more prepared than they were in 2008, there is still a significant medium term agenda on safety net preparedness in the face of crisis. In this context, strategic lessons from the 2008 food crisis response are presented to better understand the response options and challenges facing governments and policy makers. The note concludes by calling for continued investment and scale up of safety nets to mitigate poverty impacts and help prevent long term setbacks in nutrition and poverty.
    Keywords: Food&Beverage Industry,Safety Nets and Transfers,Emerging Markets,Rural Poverty Reduction,Regional Economic Development
    Date: 2011–09–01
  5. By: Sarker, Debnarayan; Chakraborty, Sanjukta
    Abstract: [This paper seeks to measure the magnitude of inter temporal and spatial variations in the prices of flower crop between same type of marketing institutions as well as different types of marketing institutions and to assess the competitiveness and efficiency of marketing in the rural and urban trade markets of flower crops in West Bengal in Indian context where female act as important marketing agents. This study suggests that trade market for most of flower crops are not efficient in the area we studied. However, price per unit for all flower crops is lower in village level markets, and female marketing agents offer lower price for all flower crops in all types of markets. Also, the marketing efficiency for some flower crops is somewhat higher for female marketing agents
    Keywords: Inter-temporal and spatial price variation ; Modified marketing efficiency ; Urban and rural markets; Female and male flower marketing farms
    JEL: B54 D49 C80
    Date: 2011–01
  6. By: Anja Shortland
    Abstract: Naval counter-piracy measures off Somalia have failed to change the incentives for pirates, raising calls for land-based approaches that may involve replacing piracy as a source of income. This paper evaluates the effects of piracy on the Somali economy to establish which (domestic) groups benefit from ransom monies. Given the paucity of economic data on Somalia, we evaluate province-level market data, nightlight emissions and high resolution satellite imagery. We show that significant amounts of ransom monies are spent within Somalia. The impacts appear to be spread widely, benefiting the working poor and pastoralists and offsetting the food price shock of 2008 in the pirate provinces. Pirates appear to invest their money principally in the main cities of Garowe and Bosasso rather than in the backward coastal communities.
    Keywords: Somalia, piracy, cash transfers, economic development, remote sensing, satellite imaging
    JEL: K42 O17 O18 R11
    Date: 2011
  7. By: Jesse M. Cunha; Giacomo De Giorgi; Seema Jayachandran
    Abstract: This paper compares how cash and in-kind transfers affect local prices. Both types of transfers increase the demand for normal goods, but only in-kind transfers also increase supply. Hence, in-kind transfers should lead to lower prices than cash transfers, which helps consumers at the expense of local producers. We test and confirm this prediction using a program in Mexico that randomly assigned villages to receive boxes of food (trucked into the village), equivalently-valued cash transfers, or no transfers. The pecuniary benefit to consumers of in-kind transfers, relative to cash transfers, equals 11% of the direct transfer.
    JEL: H4 O12
    Date: 2011–09
  8. By: Shareen Hertel (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: Access to food is essential to ensuring an adequate standard of living; it is one of the most basic of all economic rights. Yet around the world, millions of people continue to starve outright, or to suffer hunger-related disease and life challenges. Food insecurity is disproportionately associated with countries that are politically unstable or wracked by regional strife; indeed, famine is an intrinsically political phenomenon. That is why hunger in India -- the world's most populous democracy -- is paradoxical. This paper "maps" the prevalence of hunger in India, demonstrating variation not only in the depth of hunger by state but also showing variation in the level of social protest around food issues from 1990-2010. Drawing on two original datasets created for this project, I demonstrate: 1) variation in the use of public interest law (PIL) as an advocacy strategy; and 2) variation in the level and form of other types of protest (e.g., street protests and farmer suicides) during this period. I also point to the recent shift of hunger issues into party politics and argue that the evolution of advocacy strategies by the "Right to Food" movement in India -- a shift from the courts to the street to party politics -- challenges dominant interpretations of social mobilization around "interest-based" issues in that country (Katzenstein, Kothari and Mehta 2001). The paper aims to set the stage for a field-level study of local activism that could inform broader theorizing on the interplay between law, institutions, and grassroots networks in the process of realizing economic rights such as the right to food.
    Keywords: India, hunger, human rights
    JEL: B59 I30 O50
    Date: 2011–09
  9. By: Catherine ARAUJO BONJEAN (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Développement International); Catherine SIMONET (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Développement International)
    Abstract: Over the last two decades, millet prices in Niger have enjoyed periods of spectacular growth followed by rapid reversals. During these periods of boom, millet prices seem to deviate from fundamental values. These deviations may be attributed to the presence of rational speculative bubbles. Considering millet as a "food asset" we develop a millet pricing model and test for the presence of periodically and partially collapsing bubbles for 15 millet markets of Niger. The test strategy consists in estimating price deviations from fundamental values and exploiting the theoretical properties of bubbles. The residual augmented least squares (RALS) Dickey-Fuller tests do not rule out the presence of bubbles in millet prices. Moreover, the estimation results from a M-TAR model that captures the asymmetries in the adjustment process of prices to fundamentals, do not reject the presence of rational bubbles for most of the sample markets. Lastly, an attempt is made to identify the origin and collapse date of bubbles using recursive and rolling ADF tests. Results show that small markets, located in deficit and remote areas are more prone to speculation than larger markets of the main producing and consuming regions.
    Keywords: periodically collapsing bubbles, M-TAR, Residual Augmented Least Square, Recursive ADF test, millet market, niger
    JEL: O18 D40 C22 Q18
    Date: 2011
  10. By: Andrews, Colin; Galliano, Elena; Turk, Carolyn; Zampaglione, Giuseppe
    Abstract: This paper reviews a small community-based school feeding program launched in Togo in response to the 2007/08 food price crisis. The discussion focuses on the operational and policy lessons emerging from the program, to better understand opportunities for scale up and sustainability in the future. A focus of the discussion is how to build safety nets in fragile states and in situations where there is weak and fragmented government capacity to deliver services to disadvantaged and vulnerable communities. In this context school feeding is explored as an entry point through the use of informal mechanisms based on the commitment of communities and civil society. The analysis is premised on quantitative and qualitative analysis carried out at program sites. The discussion identifies the operational challenges and opportunities in customizing school feeding within Togo with an emphasis on targeting, cost effectiveness, procurement and institutional aspects. Evidence on the economic and social benefits of the program is also presented, focusing on dietary impacts, as well as household and local community effects. The objective of the discussion is to share lessons learned from evaluation findings so that they can be useful for implementing similar programs in the future in Togo itself or in other countries. Findings from the analysis highlight the possibilities of implementing school feeding in a low capacity setting and the scope for using the program as a springboard towards a broader and more comprehensive social safety net.
    Keywords: Food&Beverage Industry,Education For All,Safety Nets and Transfers,Disability,Rural Poverty Reduction
    Date: 2011–08–01
  11. By: Havranek, Tomas; Irsova, Zuzana; Janda, Karel
    Abstract: One of the most frequently examined statistical relationships in energy economics has been the price elasticity of gasoline demand. We conduct a quantitative survey of the estimates of elasticity reported for various countries around the world. Our meta-analysis indicates that the literature suffers from publication selection bias: insignificant or positive estimates of the price elasticity are rarely reported, although implausibly large negative estimates are reported regularly. In consequence, the aver- age published estimates of both short- and long-run elasticities are exaggerated twofold. Using mixed effects multilevel meta-regression, we show that after correction for publication bias the average long-run elasticity reaches -0:31 and the average short-run elasticity only -0:09.
    Keywords: gasoline demand, price elasticity, meta-analysis, publication selection bias, Agricultural and Resource Economics
    Date: 2011–09–01
  12. By: Balasubramaniam, Divya (St. Joseph’s University); Chatterjee, Santanu (University of Georgia); Mustard, David B. (University of Georgia)
    Abstract: We use data for 436 rural districts from the 2001 Census of India to examine whether different aspects of social divisions help explain the wide variation in access to tap water across rural India. Studies linking social fragmentation to public goods usually aggregate different types of fragmentation into one index. In contrast, we use disaggregated measures of social fragmentation to show that different types of social fragmentation are associated with dramatically different outcomes for access to tap water in rural India. Communities that are heterogeneous in terms of caste (within the majority Hindu religion) have lower access to tap water than correspondingly homogeneous communities. Communities that are fragmented across religions have higher access to tap water than correspondingly homogeneous communities. This underscores the importance of heterogeneity both within and across religions. Therefore, relying on aggregate measures of social fragmentation may conceal different effects of the component measures and obscure important information regarding the design of policies related to public goods.
    Keywords: public goods, social fragmentation, water, public policy, India
    JEL: H4 O2
    Date: 2011–09
  13. By: Emma Aisbett; Ralf Steinhauser
    Abstract: Water is a classic common pool resource, especially during drought. This paper studies the impact of changing storage levels on urban water usage in the context of a prolonged drought and an extensive public information campaign which emphasized communal responsibility for maintaining ‘dam levels’. We identify a substantial voluntary conservation response to changing storage levels. The paper thus contributes a rare piece of real-world, behavioral evidence that voluntary conservation varies with the need for such action. Our findings also imply that estimates of price elasticity may be biased and welfare costs of mandatory restrictions may be overstated in many studies.
    JEL: Q25 Q21 D64
    Date: 2011–09

This nep-agr issue is ©2011 by Angelo Zago. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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