New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2012‒03‒14
eleven papers chosen by

  1. Assessing the Rise of Organic Farming in the European Union: Environmental and Socio-economic Consequences By Charalampos Konstantinidis
  2. Technological Abundance for Global Agriculture: The Role of Biotechnology By Juma, Calestous
  3. The Impact of the 2008 Hadramout Flash Flood in Yemen on Economic Performance and Nutrition: A Simulation Analysis By Clemens Breisinger,Olivier Ecker,Rainer Thiele,Manfred Wiebelt
  4. Gender Inclusion in Climate Change Adaptation By Midori Aoyagi; Eiko Suda; Tomomi Shinada
  5. Food Safety Regulation and Firm Productivity:Evidence from the French Food Industry By Bontemps, Christophe; Nauges, Céline; Réquillart, Vincent; Simioni, Michel
  6. UPDATE February 2012 - The Food Crises: Predictive validation of a quantitative model of food prices including speculators and ethanol conversion By Marco Lagi; Yavni Bar-Yam; Karla Z. Bertrand; Yaneer Bar-Yam
  7. Leveraging Environment and Climate Change Initiatives for Corporate Excellence By Venkatachalam Anbumozhi; Mari Kimura; Kumiko Isono
  8. Sushi or fish fingers? Seafood diversity, collapsing fish stocks, and multi-species fishery management By Quaas, Martin F.; Requate, Till
  9. Fixed Water Sharing Agreements Sustainable to Drought By Ambec, Stefan; Dinar, Ariel; McKinney, Daene
  10. Distinguished Fellows Address: Climate change policy and the science of design By King, Robert P.
  11. "Cost Effective Conservation Planning: Twenty Lessons from Economics" By Joshua M.Duke; Steven J. Dundas; Kent D. Messer

  1. By: Charalampos Konstantinidis (Universty of Massachusetts)
    Abstract: Although organic farming is considered the poster child of rural development in Europe, there is little empirical evidence assessing its success in achieving the ambitious environmental and socio-economic objectives that it is purported to assist. This paper presents empirical evidence from the growth of organic farming in Europe over the past two decades that questions the highly optimistic claims of policy makers. Although policies in support of organic impact have had an overall positive environmental impact, their social impact is ambiguous, as organic farming appears to have grown more in areas with larger average farm sizes. Additionally, contrary to what is often assumed, organic farms in Europe display larger average sizes and lower rates of labor intensity than their conventional counterparts, casting doubts on the efficacy of organic farms to allow family farmers to remain in the countryside as high-value producers. I assert that this development should be viewed as evidence of the \conventionalization" of organic farming, and suggest that policy makers take into account the transformations of the structures of production, which benefit from the support for organic farming. Treating the experience of organic farmers in the EU as a lesson for schemes paying for environmental services, I suggest that the success of organic farming should be evaluated by the numbers of participating farmers, rather than by area covered, as has been the predominant approach so far. Finally, I assert that strong agricultural cooperatives are necessary to secure a long-lasting passage of small farmers to organic methods of production. JEL Categories: Q1, Q58, O52
    Keywords: Organic Farming, European Union, Environment
    Date: 2012–02
  2. By: Juma, Calestous (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Science and innovation have always been the key forces behind agricultural growth in particular and economic transformation in general. More specifically, the ability to add value to agricultural production via the application of scientific knowledge to entrepreneurial activities stands out as one of the most important lessons of economic history. The Green Revolution played a critical role in helping to overcome chronic food shortages in Latin America and Asia. The Green Revolution was a result of both the creation of new institutional arrangements aimed at using existing technology to improve agricultural productivity, as well as new scientific breakthroughs leading to superior agricultural inputs, particularly improved strains of wheat and rice. In the wake of the recent global economic crisis and continually high food prices, the international community is reviewing its outlook on human welfare and prosperity. Much of the current concern on how to foster development and prosperity in developing countries reflects the consequences of recent neglect of sustainable agriculture and infrastructure as drivers of development. But all is not lost. Instead, those developing countries that have not yet fully embraced agricultural technology now have the chance to benefit from preexisting scientific advances in agriculture, particularly in biotechnology. Areas of the developing world lagging in the utilization and accumulation of technology have the ability not only to catch up to industrial leaders in biotechnology, but also to attain their own level of research growth.
    Date: 2012–03
  3. By: Clemens Breisinger,Olivier Ecker,Rainer Thiele,Manfred Wiebelt
    Abstract: Combining a Dynamic Computable General Equilibrium (DCGE) model of the Yemeni economy with a microsimulation model that captures the link between changes in household incomes and changes in nutrition status, this paper provides a quantitative assessment of the agricultural, economy-wide, and nutritional impacts of the 2008 Hadramout flash flood in Yemen. The model simulations point to strong and persistent negative effects on agricultural value added, farm household incomes and nutrition among farmers in the region most severely affected by the flood. Regional spillover effects lead to temporary increases in hunger and significant cumulative income losses even in other regions where the flood has no direct impact
    Keywords: floods, agriculture, nutrition, CGE modeling, Yemen
    JEL: I3 Q1 O5 C3
    Date: 2012–02
  4. By: Midori Aoyagi (Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI)); Eiko Suda; Tomomi Shinada
    Keywords: Climate change, gender inclusion, agricultural production, Natural Disasters
    JEL: J16 Q54 Q58
    Date: 2011–09
  5. By: Bontemps, Christophe (GREMAQ,INRA); Nauges, Céline (LERNA-INRA); Réquillart, Vincent (TSE,GREMAQ,INRA,IDEI); Simioni, Michel (GREMAQ,INRA)
    Abstract: The purpose of this article is to assess whether food safety regulations imposed by the European Union in the 2000s may have induced a slow-down in the productivity of firms in the food processing sector. The impact of regulations on costs and productivity has seldom been studied. This article contributes to the literature by measuring productivity change using a panel of French food processing firms for the years 1996 to 2006. To do so, we develop an original iterative testing procedure based on the comparison of the distribution of efficiency scores of a set of firms. Our results confirm that productivity decreased in two major food processing sectors (poultry and cheese) at the time when safety regulation was reinforced.
    Date: 2012–01
  6. By: Marco Lagi; Yavni Bar-Yam; Karla Z. Bertrand; Yaneer Bar-Yam
    Abstract: Increases in global food prices have led to widespread hunger and social unrest---and an imperative to understand their causes. In a previous paper published in September 2011, we constructed for the first time a dynamic model that quantitatively agreed with food prices. Specifically, the model fit the FAO Food Price Index time series from January 2004 to March 2011, inclusive. The results showed that the dominant causes of price increases during this period were investor speculation and ethanol conversion. The model included investor trend following as well as shifting between commodities, equities and bonds to take advantage of increased expected returns. Here, we extend the food prices model to January 2012, without modifying the model but simply continuing its dynamics. The agreement is still precise, validating both the descriptive and predictive abilities of the analysis. Policy actions are needed to avoid a third speculative bubble that would cause prices to rise above recent peaks by the end of 2012.
    Date: 2012–03
  7. By: Venkatachalam Anbumozhi (Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI)); Mari Kimura; Kumiko Isono
    Abstract: As an integral part of sustainable development, the impacts from climate change, including increasing water stress, more extreme weather events, the potential for high levels of migration and the disruption of international markets are critical challenges for all Asian countries. With rapid economic growth and modernization, the countries in the region are increasing production and consumption, calling for critical adaption measures. With the Asian countries and the energy sector exceedingly accounting for a large share of CO2 and GHG emissions, businesses in Asia need to increase efficiency in energy use, offset emissions, and use more low carbon or renewable energy resources. Businesses are no longer considered part of the environmental problem as they are progressively becoming part of the solutions, and if furthered by an ideal regulatory disposition this would encourage corporations to strive for zero emissions. To address these issues, this paper reviews selected initiatives taken by Asian countries to comply with emerging global sustainability standards, reporting, and management systems, and tracks the response of Asian businesses to global environmental concerns, examines market based innovations including new regulations that augmented corporate excellence, and identifies future directions for business that lead low carbon society. It recommends governments and business to join forces in supporting low carbon initiatives, drawing upon market mechanisms through reconfiguring national environmental policies and strategies.
    Keywords: sustainable development, Climate change, Asian countries, environmental policies, environmental strategies
    JEL: M19 Q3 Q48 Q56
    Date: 2011–12
  8. By: Quaas, Martin F.; Requate, Till
    Abstract: We present a model of a multi-species fishery and show that (i) consumer preferences for seafood diversity may trigger a sequential collapse of fish stocks under open-access fishery, (ii) the stronger the preferences are for diversity the higher is the need for coordinated multi-species regulation, (iii) second-best optimal management of only one (or a few) species is less strict than socially optimal management of the same species. Finally, (iv) myopic regulation of one species, ignoring spill-overs to other species, may cause depletion of other stocks that would not be depleted under open access. --
    Keywords: marine biodiversity,fishery economics,product differentiation
    JEL: Q22 Q57 Q21
    Date: 2012
  9. By: Ambec, Stefan; Dinar, Ariel; McKinney, Daene
    Abstract: By signing a fixed water sharing agreement (FWSA), countries voluntarily commit to release a fixed amount of river water in exchange for an agreed compensation. We examine the vulnerability of such commitments to reduced water ows. Among all FWSAs that are acceptable to riparian countries, we find out the one which is sustainable to the most severe drought scenarios. The so-called upstream incremental FWSA assigns to each country its marginal contribution to its followers in the river. Its mirror image, the downstream incremental FWSA, is not sustainable to reduced ow at the source. We apply our analysis to the Aral Sea basin agreement.
    Keywords: international river treaty, water, stability, core, compliance, Aral sea.
    JEL: D74 Q25 Q28 Q54
    Date: 2011–10
  10. By: King, Robert P.
    Abstract: Climate change has the potential to drive transformations in natural resource access, availability, and use that will have significant, farâreaching impacts worldwide, not only for those of us living today but also for future generations. As economists we are being called upon to assess the economic impacts of alternative climate change scenarios and the costs of efforts to mitigate and adapt to the adverse consequences of climate change. I classify these professional activities as âeconomic analysis,â and I cite John Quigginâs 2011 AAEA Fellows Address (Quiggin 2012) as one of many noteworthy contributions we have made. Equally important, we are being asked to design economic artifacts â institutions, markets, contractual relationships, measuring and monitoring procedures, and decision support systems â that will allow people to better respond to and adapt to changing circumstances. I classify these professional activities as âeconomic design.â In my AAEA Presidential Address (King 2012) I asserted that these two sets of activities, economic analysis and economic design, while closely related and highly complementary, are also distinct and different. I also asserted that, while we are familiar with and accustomed to the processes and methods of economic analysis, our shared understanding of economic design scholarship is less fully developed. This paper focuses on the general questions of how we do economic design and what constitutes good scholarship in economic design, with illustrations and examples related to the design of climate change policy.
    Keywords: Environmental Economics and Policy, Resource /Energy Economics and Policy,
    Date: 2012–02
  11. By: Joshua M.Duke (Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Delaware); Steven J. Dundas (Department of Economics, North Carolina State University); Kent D. Messer (Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Delaware)
    Abstract: Economists advocate that the billions of public dollars spent on conservation should be allocated to achieve the largest possible social benefit. This is what we term “cost-effective conservation”-- a process that incorporates both benefits and costs that are measured with money. This controversial proposition has been poorly understood and not implemented by conservation planners. Drawing from evidence from the largest conservation programs in the United States, this paper seeks to improve the communication between economists and planners and overcome resistance to cost-effective conservation by addressing the open questions that likely drive skepticism among non-economists and by identifying best practices for project selection. We first delineate project-selection strategies and compare them to optimization. Then we synthesize the body of established research findings from economics into 20 practical lessons. Based on theory, policy considerations, and empirical evidence, these lessons illustrate the potential gains from improving practices related to cost-effective selection and also address how to overcome landowner-incentive challenges that face programs.
    Keywords: conservation planning, cost-effectiveness, nonmarket valuation, benefit cost targeting, optimization, prioritization
    JEL: Q18 Q24 Q57 Q58
    Date: 2012

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