nep-agr New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2013‒07‒28
eighteen papers chosen by
Angelo Zago
University of Verona

  1. Traditional food crop marketing in Sub-Saharan Africa: Does gender matter? By Christina Handschuch; Meike Wollni
  2. Modelling Agri-Food Policy Impact at Farm-household Level in Developing Countries (FSSIM-Dev): Application to Sierra Leone By Kamel Louhichi; Sergio Gomez y Paloma; Hatem Belhouchette; Thomas Allen; Jacques Fabre; María Blanco Fonseca; Roza Chenoune; Szvetlana Acs; Guillermo Flichman
  3. Improved production systems for traditional food crops: The case of finger millet in Western Kenya By Christina Handschuch; Meike Wollni
  4. The Impact of Agricultural Biotechnology on Supply and Land-Use By Barrows, Geoffrey; Sexton, Steven; Zilberman, David
  5. Are mega-farms the future of global agriculture ? exploring the farm size-productivity relationship By Deininger, Klaus; Nizalov, Denys; Singh, Sudhir K
  6. Analysis of the impact of Croatia's accession to the EU on the agri-food sectors. A focus on trade and agricultural policies. By Pierre Boulanger; Emanuele Ferrari; Jerzy Michalek; Cristina Vinyes
  7. South African Riots: Repercussion of the Global Food Crisis and US Drought By Yavni Bar-Yam; Marco Lagi; Yaneer Bar-Yam
  8. Agriculture Plus Plus : growth strategy for Myanmar agriculture By Kudo, Toshihiro; Kumagai, Satoru; Ishido, Hikari
  9. The Pursuit of Food Security in India: Policies sans Concept and Commitment? By M. H. Suryanarayana
  10. Gender, Social Norms and Household Production in Burkina Faso By Harounan Kazianga; Zaki Wahhaj
  11. Challenges Ahead of Ailing Indian Agriculture By Motkuri, Venkatanarayana
  12. How does risk management influence production decisions? evidence from a field experiment By Cole, Shawn; Gine, Xavier; Vickery, James
  13. Effects of Family, Friends, and Relative Prices on Fruit and Vegetable Consumption by African Americans By Zhylyevskyy, Oleksandr; Jensen, Helen H.; Garasky, Steven; Cutrona, Carolyn E.; Gibbons, Frederick X.
  14. Does Agricultural Productivity Growth Promote a Dynamic Comparative Advantage in the Manufacturing Sector? By Kamei, Keita
  15. Do economic crises lead to health and nutrition behavior responses ? analysis using longitudinal data from Russia By Nikoloski, Zlatko; Ajwad, Mohamed Ihsan
  16. Heterogeneity of the effects of health insurance on household savings: Evidence from rural China. By Diana Cheung; Ysaline Padieu
  17. Obesity and smoking: can we catch two birds with one tax? By Davide Dragone; Francesco Manaresi; Luca Savorelli
  18. Social Policies in China and India: the Role of Land Ownership and of Economic Size By Minquan Liu

  1. By: Christina Handschuch (Georg-August University Göttingen); Meike Wollni (Georg-August University Göttingen)
    Abstract: Specialization and commercialization of agricultural production is seen as a key to lift small-scale farmers in developing countries out of poverty. While participation in high-value markets has been shown to be beneficial for farmers, especially the smallest and least endowed farmers are often excluded from these markets due to high transaction costs. In this context, marketing traditional food crops poses an important income alternative. The present study aims to contribute to the scarce literature on traditional food crops by analyzing the factors influencing (a) the households’ decision to participate in the finger millet market and (b) the selling prices obtained by the household. A special focus of our analysis lies on the role of gender and collective action. Based on household data from 270 finger millet producers, a probit model on market participation and a linear regression model on the selling price are estimated. Results show that participation in a finger millet group positively influences the decision to market finger millet. While female household members who do not participate in a group are disadvantaged in terms of selling prices, there is no gender effect on selling prices if a female household member participates in a finger millet group.
    Keywords: Kenya; finger millet; marketing; collective action; gender
    Date: 2013–07–15
  2. By: Kamel Louhichi (European Commission – JRC - IPTS); Sergio Gomez y Paloma (European Commission – JRC - IPTS); Hatem Belhouchette (Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Montpellier, France); Thomas Allen (Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Montpellier & University of Perpignan Via Domitia, France); Jacques Fabre (Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Montpellier & DIATAE, Ingénierie des territoires agricoles, France); María Blanco Fonseca (Technical University of Madrid, Spain); Roza Chenoune (Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Montpellier, France); Szvetlana Acs (European Commission – JRC - IPTS); Guillermo Flichman (Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Montpellier, France)
    Abstract: This report describes the generic template of a farm-household model for use in the context of developing countries in order to gain knowledge on food security and rural poverty alleviation under different economic conditions and agri-food policy options. This model, called FSSIM-Dev (Farming System Simulator for Developing Countries), is an extension of the FSSIM model developed within the SEAMLESS project. Contrary to most well-known household models which are econometric based, FSSIM-Dev is a non-linear optimization model which relies on both the general household's utility framework and the farm's production technical constraints, in a non-separable regime. It is referred to as a static Positive Mathematical Programming (PMP) which optimise at farm household level, with the opportunities to simulate the exchange of production factors among farm-households. FSSIM-Dev is designed to capture five key features of developing countries or/and rural areas: (i) non-separability of production and consumption decisions due to market imperfection; (ii) interaction among farm-households for market factors; (iii) heterogeneity of farm households with respect to their both consumption baskets (demand side) and resource endowments (supply side); (iv) inter-linkage between transaction costs and market participation decisions; and (v) the seasonality of farming activities and resource use. Model use is illustrated in this report with an analysis of the combined effects of rice support policy, namely fertiliser subsidy policy, and improved rice cropping managements (practices) on the livelihood of representative farm households in Sierra Leone. Results show that, first, the improvement of rice cropping managements is a key factor to boost significantly farm household income in the studied region. Second, the amount of N fertilizer required for, mainly, upland rice appears too high and costly and could not be applied by farm households without policy support (i.e. subsidies). Third, both the simulated rice policy and the improved crop managements would increase farm productivity and boost household income but they are not sufficient to fight poverty since most of the farm household types would continue to live below the extreme poverty line of 1 USD-equivalent per day.
    Keywords: Food Security, Poverty, Impact assessment, Seed Policy, Farm household model, Sierra Leone
    Date: 2013–03
  3. By: Christina Handschuch (Georg-August-University Göttingen); Meike Wollni (Georg-August-University Göttingen)
    Abstract: Increasing agricultural productivity through the dissemination of improved cropping practices remains one of the biggest challenges of this century. A considerable amount of literature is dedicated to the adoption of improved cropping practices among smallholder farmers in developing countries. While most studies focus on cash crops or main staple crops, traditional food grains like finger millet have received little attention in the past decades. The present study aims to assess the factors that are influencing adoption decisions among finger millet farmers in Western Kenya. Based on cross-sectional household data from 270 farmers, we estimate a multivariate probit model to compare the adoption decisions in finger millet and maize production. While improved practices such as the use of a modern variety or chemical fertilizer are well known in maize production, they are less common in finger millet production. Results show that social networks as well as access to extension services play a crucial role in the adoption of improved finger millet practices, while the same variables are of minor importance for the adoption of improved maize practices. A Cobb-Douglas production function shows a positive effect of modern varieties and chemical fertilizer on finger millet yields.
    Keywords: finger millet; Kenya; technology adoption; social networks
    Date: 2013–07–15
  4. By: Barrows, Geoffrey; Sexton, Steven; Zilberman, David
    Abstract: Increased demand for agricultural produce for food, fiber, feed, and energy generates a tradeoff between high prices and environmentally costly land conversion. Genetically engineered (GE) seeds can potentially increase supply without recruiting new lands to production. We develop a simple adoption model to show how first-generation GE increases yield per hectare. We identify yield increases from cross country time series variation in GE adoption share within the main GE crops- cotton, corn, and soybeans. We find that GE increased yields 34% for cotton, 32% for corn, but only 2% for soybeans. The model also predicts that GE extends the range of lands that can be farmed profitably. If the output on these lands are attributed to GE technology, then overall supply effects are larger than previously understood. Considering this extensive margin effect, the supply effect of GE increases from 10% to 16% for corn, 15% to 20% for cotton, and 2% to 39% for soybeans, generating significant downward pressure on prices. Finally, we compute \saved" lands and greenhouse gasses as the difference between observed hectarage per crop and counterfactual hectarage needed to generate the same output without the yield boost from GE. We find that all together, GE saved 21million Ha of land from conversion to agriculture in 2010, or 0.41 Gt ofCO2emissions (using a constantCO2/land conversion factor). These averted emissions are equivalent to roughly 1/3 the annual emissions from driving in the US.
    Keywords: Social and Behavioral Sciences, genetic engineering, ge seeds, co2 emissions
    Date: 2013–06–14
  5. By: Deininger, Klaus; Nizalov, Denys; Singh, Sudhir K
    Abstract: With farms cultivating tens or hundreds of thousands of hectares, Ukraine is often used to demonstrate the existence of economies of scale in modern grain production. Panel data analysis for all the country's farms with more than 200 hectares in 2001-2011 suggests that higher yields and profits are due to unobserved factors at rayon (district) and farm level rather than economies of scale. Productivity growth was driven not by farm expansion but by exit of unproductive and entry of more efficient farms. Higher initial shares of area under farms with more than 3,000 or 5,000 hectares at the rayon level significantly reduce subsequent exit, suggesting that land concentration reduces productivity growth. The paper draws implications for global evolution of farm structures.
    Keywords: Economic Theory&Research,Rural Development Knowledge&Information Systems,Crops and Crop Management Systems,Political Economy,Labor Policies
    Date: 2013–07–01
  6. By: Pierre Boulanger (European Commission – JRC - IPTS); Emanuele Ferrari (Oxford Brookes University); Jerzy Michalek (freelance researcher); Cristina Vinyes (European Commission – JRC - IPTS)
    Abstract: This report analyses the likely effects of Croatia's accession to the European Union (EU) on the agricultural and food sectors in terms of trade, production, employment and GDP for Croatia, the EU-27 and their main trading partners. Using a multi-country Computable General Equilibrium model (MAGNET) this study evaluates the impacts of the harmonisation of trade and agricultural policies that occur after this enlargement on July 1st, 2013. The results show that both Croatia's GDP and employment will slightly increase. The main conclusions point out significant market price effects as well as changes in trade patterns.
    Keywords: CGE, European integration, agricultural trade, agricultural policy
    JEL: C68 Q17 Q18
    Date: 2013–07
  7. By: Yavni Bar-Yam; Marco Lagi; Yaneer Bar-Yam
    Abstract: High and volatile global food prices have led to food riots and played a critical role in triggering the Arab Spring revolutions in recent years. The severe drought in the US in the summer of 2012 led to a new increase in food prices. Through the fall, they remained at a threshold above which the riots and revolutions had predominantly occurred. Global prices at this level create conditions where an exacerbating local circumstance can trigger unrest. Global corn (maize) prices reached new highs, and countries that depend mostly on maize are more likely to experience high local food prices and associated pressures toward social unrest. Here we analyze the conditions in South Africa, which is a heavily maize-dependent country. Coinciding with increased consumer food indices this summer, massive labor strikes in mining and agriculture have led to the greatest single incident of social violence since the fall of apartheid in 1994. Worker demands for dramatic pay increases reflect that their wages have not kept up with drastic increases in the prices of necessities, especially food. Without attention to the global food price situation, more incidents of food-based social instability are likely to arise. Other countries that have manifested food-related protests and riots in 2012 include Haiti and Argentina. Moreover, these cases of unrest are just the most visible symptom of widespread suffering of poor populations worldwide due to elevated food prices. Policy decisions that would directly impact food prices are decreasing the conversion of maize to ethanol in the US, and reimposing regulations on commodity futures markets to prevent excessive speculation, which we have shown causes bubbles and crashes in these markets. Absent such policy actions, governments and companies should track and mitigate the impact of high and volatile food prices on citizens and employees.
    Date: 2013–07
  8. By: Kudo, Toshihiro; Kumagai, Satoru; Ishido, Hikari
    Abstract: The development of agriculture is a main pillar of Myanmar’s growth strategies. It is natural for the Myanmar government to prioritize agriculture as a source of economic growth, since it accounted for 36% of GDP, employs a majority of labor force, and generates nearly 30% of exports as of 2010. Although the agricultural share in GDP and employment usually declines as an economy grows, it is not a sunset industry in Myanmar. Methods exist for increasing agriculture’s value added other than the growth of labor and land inputs. The key is to enhance three productivity measures: labor, land, and total productivity. We call this strategy "Agriculture Plus Plus."
    Keywords: Myanmar, Agriculture, Agricultural development, Development policy, Agriculture Plus Plus, Senary Sector of Agriculture, Growth Strategy, Myanmar (Burma)
    JEL: O13 O53 Q10
    Date: 2013–06
  9. By: M. H. Suryanarayana (International Poverty Centre)
    Abstract: Food security policy in India in recent years has lacked clarity and direction. It resembles a series of ad hoc measures without a clear evidence-based assessment to support them. To reduce the fiscal deficit, the economic reform era began in 1991 with proposals to target the public food distribution system (PDS) on cost-efficiency considerations. Instead of reducing exclusion errors that leave needy poor people out of the PDS, the emphasis was on reducing the number of non-poor people receiving welfare support. (?)
    Keywords: The Pursuit of Food Security in India: Policies sans Concept and Commitment?
    Date: 2013–06
  10. By: Harounan Kazianga (Oklahoma State University); Zaki Wahhaj (Department of International Development, Oxford University)
    Abstract: Empirical studies of intra-household allocation has revealed that, in many instances, gender is an important determinant in the allocation of resources within the household. Yet, within the theoretical literature, why gender matters within the household remains an open question. In this paper, we propose a simple model of intra-household allocation based on a particular social institution for the organisation of agricultural production practised among certain ethnic groups in West Africa. We highlight how this institution, while resolving certain problems of commitment and informational asymmetry, can also lead to a gendered pattern in the allocation of productive resources and consumption within the household. Using a survey of agricultural households in Burkina Faso, we show, consistent with this theory, that plots owned by the head of the household are farmed more intensively, and achieves higher yields, than plots with similar characteristics owned by other household members. Male and female family members who do not head the household achieve similar yields. We argue that the higher yields achieved by the household head may be explained in terms of social norms that require him to spend the earnings from some plots under his control exclusively on household public goods, which in turn provides other family members the incentive to voluntarily contribute labour on his farms. Using expenditures data, and measures of rainfall to capture weather-related shocks to agricultural income, we show that the household head has, indeed, a higher marginal propensity to spend on household public goods than other household members. The fact that the head of the household is usually male accounts for the gendered pattern in labour allocation and yields across different farm plots.
    Keywords: Intra-household allocation, social norms, gender, household public goods
    JEL: O12 D13 Q1
    Date: 2010–05
  11. By: Motkuri, Venkatanarayana
    Abstract: This paper takes stock of the state of agriculture in India, brings out with the stylised facts, issues and emerging challenges related to agriculture sector and then makes an attempt to formulate policy measures for further growth of the Indian agriculture.
    Keywords: Agriculture, India, Livestock, Growth, Poverty
    JEL: Q1 Q10 Q11 Q13 Q15 Q18
    Date: 2012–09
  12. By: Cole, Shawn; Gine, Xavier; Vickery, James
    Abstract: Weather is a key source of income risk for many firms and households, particularly in emerging market economies. This paper uses a randomized controlled trial approach to study how an innovative risk management instrument for hedging rainfall risk affects production decisions among a sample of Indian agricultural firms. The analysis finds that the provision of insurance induces farmers to shift production toward higher-return but higher-risk cash crops, particularly among more-educated farmers. The results support the view that financial innovation may help mitigate the real effects of uninsured production risk. In a second experiment, the study elicits willingness to pay for insurance policies that differ in their contract terms, using the Becker-DeGroot-Marshak mechanism. Willingness-to-pay is increasing in the actuarial value of the insurance, but substantially less than one-for-one, suggesting that farmers'valuations are inconsistent with a fully rational benchmark.
    Keywords: Climate Change Economics,Labor Policies,Debt Markets,Insurance Law,Non Bank Financial Institutions
    Date: 2013–07–01
  13. By: Zhylyevskyy, Oleksandr; Jensen, Helen H.; Garasky, Steven; Cutrona, Carolyn E.; Gibbons, Frederick X.
    Abstract: We investigate the effects of parents, best friends, and relative prices on fruit and vegetable consumption by African American youths using behavioral data from the Family and Community Health Study, and area-specific food prices from the Quarterly Food-at-Home Price Database. We construct a simultaneous equation ordered probit model that accounts for social interactions in fruit and vegetable consumption and specific aspects of the available food intake data. We estimate statistically significant endogenous consumption effects between a youth and a parent. Lower relative prices tend to increase intakes, particularly in the case of vegetables; however, the statistical significance of these effects is marginal. The results suggest the existence of social multipliers in fruit and vegetable consumption in African American families. The presence of these multipliers supports the design of youth-parent based interventions to increase fruit and vegetable intake by African Americans. Additionally, intake also may be increased through relative price reductions.
    JEL: C35 I12 J15
    Date: 2013–07–17
  14. By: Kamei, Keita
    Abstract: This paper develops a dynamic Ricardian trade model with a supply of productive infrastructure in the manufacturing sector. We discuss the onset of trade liberalization when the home country has a (dynamic) comparative advantage in the manufacturing sector. Moreover, we compare over time the total welfare that adds welfare during autarkic periods (pre-industrialization periods) to that during specializing in manufacturing sector periods (industrialization periods) with one that exclusively specializes in the agricultural sector. From this setting, the following results are obtained: (1) an increase in agricultural productivity may hasten the onset of liberalization, (2) an improvement in labor efficiency in the public sector necessarily hastens the onset of the trade liberalization; and (3) the total welfare that adds the welfare during autarkic periods to that during specializing in manufacturing sector periods may be higher than that of the economy that exclusively specializes in the agricultural sector.
    Keywords: Productive infrastructure, Industrialization, Timing of trade liberalization, Agricultural productivity
    JEL: F10 F43 O14
    Date: 2013
  15. By: Nikoloski, Zlatko; Ajwad, Mohamed Ihsan
    Abstract: Using longitudinal data on more than 2,000 Russian families spanning the period between 2007 and 2010, this paper estimates the impact of the 2009 global financial crisis on food expenditures, health care expenditures, and doctor visits in Russia. The primary estimation strategy adopted is the semi-parametric difference-in-difference with propensity score matching technique. The analysis finds that household health and nutritional behavior indicators do not vary statistically between households that were crisis-affected and households that were not affected by the crisis. However, the analysis finds that crisis-affected poor families curtailed their out-of-pocket health expenditures during and after the crisis more than poor families that were not affected by the crisis did. In addition, crisis-affected vulnerable groups changed their health behavior. In particular, households with low educational attainment of household heads and households with more elderly people changed their health and nutrition behavior response when affected by the crisis. The results are invariant to the propensity score matching techniques and parametric fixed effects estimation models.
    Keywords: Health Monitoring&Evaluation,Health Systems Development&Reform,Regional Economic Development,Population Policies,Rural Poverty Reduction
    Date: 2013–07–01
  16. By: Diana Cheung (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne); Ysaline Padieu (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: This paper estimates the impact of the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS) on household saving across income quartiles in rural China. We use data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey for the 2006 wave and we run an ordinary least squares regression. We control for the endogeneity of NCMS participation by using an instrumental variable strategy. We find evidence that NCMS has a negative impact on savings of lower-middle-income participants, while it does not affect the poorest households. The negative effect of NCMS on savings of middle-income participants holds when we use propensity score matching estimations as a robustness check.
    Keywords: Rural China, New Cooperative Medical Scheme, health insurance, Chinese savings and consumption, propensity score matching.
    JEL: C21 D1 I18 O53
    Date: 2013–07
  17. By: Davide Dragone (University of Bologna); Francesco Manaresi (Bank of Italy); Luca Savorelli (University of St. Andrews)
    Abstract: The debate on tobacco and fat taxes often treats smoking and eating as independent behaviors. However, the available evidence shows that they are interdependent, which implies that policies against smoking or obesity may have larger scope than expected. To address this issue, we propose a dynamic rational model where eating and smoking are simultaneous choices that jointly affect body weight and addiction to smoking. Focusing on direct and cross-price effects, we compare tobacco taxes and food taxes and we show that a single policy tool can reduce both smoking and body weight. In particular, food taxes can be more effective than tobacco taxes at simultaneously fighting obesity and smoking.
    Keywords: Addiction, Fat Tax, Obesity, Smoking, Tobacco.
    JEL: D91 H31 I18
    Date: 2013–07–19
  18. By: Minquan Liu (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: Issues of social policy? their evolution, role in ensuring minimum equity, developmental functions and future directions? are especially worth exploring in respect of China and India. The two countries are sufficiently similar in terms of economic size, developmental stage and the challenges they face, but are dissimilar enough in terms of the larger socio-economic and political institutions and systems, history and culture as to make them natural candidates for an in-depth comparative study of developmental experiences. Focusing on social policy, Arjan De Haan (2013) makes a useful attempt in that direction. (?)
    Keywords: Social Policies in China and India: the Role of Land Ownership and of Economic Size
    Date: 2013–06

This nep-agr issue is ©2013 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.
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.