nep-agr New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2013‒08‒10
eighteen papers chosen by
Angelo Zago
University of Verona

  1. RED vs. REDD: Biofuel Policy vs. Forest Conservation By Dixon, Peter; van Meijl, Hans; Rimmer, Maureen; Shutes, Lindsay; Tabeau, Andrzej
  2. Agriculture, Rural Employment, and Inclusive Growth By Briones, Roehlano M.
  3. Does land fragmentation affect farm performance? A case study from Brittany By Latruffe, Laure; Piet, Laurent
  4. Reforming India’s Pluralistic Extension System: Some Policy Issues By Singh, K.M.; Swanson, B.E.; Meena, M.S.
  5. Investment behaviour of EU arable crop farms in selected EU countries and the impact of policy reforms By Guastella,Giovanni; Moro, Daniele; Sckokai, Paolo; Veneziani, Mario
  6. Poverty, malnutrition and vulnerability in Mali By Eozenou, Patrick; Madani, Dorsati; Swinkels, Rob
  7. Do decoupled payments affect investment financing constraints? Evidence from Irish agriculture By Conor O'Toole; Thia Hennessy
  8. Smallholder demand for maize hybrids and selective seed subsidies in Zambia By Smale, Melinda; Birol, Ekin
  9. Evaluating Obesity Prevention Efforts: A Plan for Measuring Progress. By Committee on Evaluating Progress of Obesity Prevention Effort; Food; Nutrition Board; Institute of Medicine; of which Ronette Briefel is a member
  10. Measuring the Effect of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Participation on Food Security. By James Mabli; Jim Ohls; Lisa Dragoset; Laura Castner; Betsy Santos
  11. After the Farm Crisis: Religiosity in the Rural United States By Orman, Wafa Hakim
  12. The Costs of Agglomeration: Land Prices in French Cities By Pierre-Philippe Combes; Gilles Duranton; Laurent Gobillon
  13. Distributional Impact of Commodity Price Shocks: Australia over a Century By Sambit Bhattacharyya; Jeffrey G. Williamson
  14. Looking for PeripheRurality By Beatrice Camaioni; Roberto Esposti; Antonello Lobianco; Francesco Pagliacci; Franco Sotte
  15. Competitiveness and determinants of coffee exports, producer price and production for Ethiopia By Boansi, David; Crentsil, Christian
  16. A Graph Theory Approach for Geovisualization of Anthropogenic Land Use Change: An Application to Lisbon By Vaz, Eric; Aversa, Joseph
  17. Changing behaviour of self help group members: Pathway for sustainable rural livelihoods in Eastern India By Meena, M.S.; Singh, K.M.
  18. Biosecurity Externalities and Indemnities for Infectious Animal Diseases By David A. Hennessy

  1. By: Dixon, Peter; van Meijl, Hans; Rimmer, Maureen; Shutes, Lindsay; Tabeau, Andrzej
    Abstract: This paper assesses the complex interplay between global Renewable Energy Directives (RED) and the United Nations programme to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). We examine the interaction of the two policies using a scenario approach with a recursive-dynamic global Computable General Equilibrium model. The consequences of a global biofuel directive on worldwide land use, agricultural production, international trade flows, food prices and food security out to 2030 are evaluated with and without a strict global REDD policy. We address a key methodological challenge of how to model the supply of land in the face of restrictions over its availability, as arises under the REDD policy. The paper introduces a flexible land supply function, which allows for large changes in the total potential land availability for agriculture. Our results show that whilst both RED and REDD are designed to reduce emissions, they have opposing impacts on land use. RED policies are found to extend land use whereas the REDD policy leads to an overall reduction in land use and intensification of agriculture. Strict REDD policies to protect forest and woodland lead to higher land prices in all regions. World food prices are slightly higher overall with some significant regional increases, notably in Southern Africa and Indonesia, leading to reductions in food security in these countries. This said, real food prices in 2030 are still lower than the 2010 level, even with the RED and REDD policies in place. Overall this suggests that RED and REDD are feasible from a worldwide perspective, although the results show that there are some regional problems that need to be resolved. The results show that countries directly affected by forest and woodland protection would be the most economically vulnerable when the REDD policy is implemented. The introduction of REDD policies reduces global trade in agricultural products and moves some developing countries to a net importing position for agricultural products. This suggests that the protection of forests and woodlands in these regions reverses their comparative advantage as they move from being land-abundant to land-scarce regions. The full REDD policy setting, however, foresees providing compensation to these countries to cover their economic losses.
    Date: 2013–05
  2. By: Briones, Roehlano M.
    Abstract: This paper argues that the development of the rural economy is a key factor for achieving inclusive growth, one that creates jobs, draws the majority into the economic and social mainstream, and continuously reduces mass poverty. Employment conditions in Philippine rural labor markets and agriculture can be characterized as casual or informal, with low skill requirements, with low productivity and returns, and a greater concentration of poverty. This is consistent with a prominent strand of development literature that posits a traditional sector, mostly located in rural areas, and highly dependent on agricultural livelihood. Development involves the change in economic structure, anchored on productivity growth in agriculture, involving a movement of labor from the traditional sector, as well as accelerated capital formation in industry and services. Evidence, both international and for the Philippines, is favorable to the structural transformation perspective. For the Philippines, in particular, the evidence points to the following: agricultural growth causes nonagricultural growth, is tightly linked to downstream manufacturing, and contributes significantly toward reducing poverty. Agricultural growth has a differential impact on employment of the unskilled labor, indirectly reducing economywide labor cost by keeping food affordable. Lastly, agricultural productivity growth can have long-term dynamic effects by enabling farm households to invest in human capital, leading to intergenerational diversification of income sources. The evidence suggests that the agricultural and rural economy should be at the forefront, rather than periphery, of the country`s strategy for quality employment generation; such a strategy completing an unfinished reform agenda for sustained development of the rural economy. This involves swift completion of the land reform program. Post-2014, the state should focus on developing a flexible and responsive market for land rights. Liberalization initiatives should be pursued in the area of market policy and logistics. Government should rationalize its role as market regulator. Support for agricultural production should be oriented toward enhancing agricultural productivity and comparative advantage based largely on the effective delivery of public goods and associated services such as R&D, irrigation, and other infrastructure. Agricultural development transcends productivity enhancement at the level of primary production, encompassing the agribusiness value chain and based on comparative advantage.
    Keywords: labor market, Philippines, employment, agriculture, rural development, inclusive growth
    Date: 2013
  3. By: Latruffe, Laure; Piet, Laurent
    Abstract: Agricultural land fragmentation is widespread and may affect farmers’ decisions and impact farm performance, either negatively or positively. We investigated this impact for the western region of Brittany, France, in 2007. To do so, we regressed a set of performance indicators on a set of fragmentation descriptors. The performance indicators (production costs, yields, revenue, profitability, technical and scale efficiency) were calculated at the farm level using Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) data, while the fragmentation descriptors were calculated at the municipality level using data from the cartographic field pattern registry (RPG). The various fragmentation descriptors enabled us to account for not only the traditional number and average size of plots, but also their geographical scattering. We found that farms experienced higher costs of production, lower crop yields and lower profitability where land fragmentation (LF) was more pronounced. Total technical efficiency was not found to be significantly related to any of the municipality LF descriptors used, while scale efficiency was lower where the average distance to the nearest neighbouring plot was greater. Pure technical efficiency was found to be negatively related to the average number of plots in the municipality, with the unexpected result that it was also positively related to the average distance to the nearest neighbouring plot. By simulating the impact of hypothetical consolidation programmes on average pre-tax profits and wheat yield, we also showed that the marginal benefits of reducing fragmentation may differ with respect to the improved LF dimension and the performance indicator considered. Our analysis therefore shows that the measures of land fragmentation usually used in the literature do not reveal the full set of significant relationships with farm performance and that, in particular, measures accounting for distance should be considered more systematically.
    Date: 2013–04
  4. By: Singh, K.M.; Swanson, B.E.; Meena, M.S.
    Abstract: The agricultural sector in India has been successful in keeping pace with the rising food demand of a growing population. Rapid agricultural growth continues to be the key to poverty alleviation and overall economic development. The changing economic scenario in India and the need for appropriate agricultural technologies and agro-management practices to respond to food and nutritional security, poverty alleviation, diversifying market demands, export opportunities and environmental concerns is posing new challenges to technology dissemination systems. Public extension by itself can no longer respond to the multifarious demands of farming systems. There is need to reevaluate the capacity of agricultural extension to effectively address the contemporary and future needs of the farming community. Public funding for sustaining the vast extension infrastructure is also under considerable strain. Meanwhile in response to market demand, the existing public extension network is inexorably being complemented, supplemented and even replaced by private extension. As the nature and scope of agricultural extension undergoes fundamental changes, India looks for a whole new policy mix that nurtures the pluralistic extension system in India. The current study tries to analyse in-depth the various issues of pluralistic extension system in India and the policy reforms carried out to address them.
    Keywords: Extension Reforms, Pluralistic Extension System, India, Policy Issues, ATMA Model, Market-led extension
    JEL: O2 O21 O31 O32 O33 O38 Q16 Q18
    Date: 2013–08–07
  5. By: Guastella,Giovanni; Moro, Daniele; Sckokai, Paolo; Veneziani, Mario
    Abstract: This working paper provides a comparative analysis, among selected EU member states, of the investment demand of a sample of specialised field crop farms for farm buildings, machinery and equipment as determined by different types and levels of Common Agricultural Policy support. It allows for the existence of uncertainty in the price of output farmers receive and for both long- and short-run determinants of investment levels, as well as for the presence of irregularities in the cost adjustment function due to the existence of threshold-type behaviours. The empirical estimation reveals that three investment regimes are consistently identified in Germany and Hungary, across asset and support types, and in France for machinery and equipment. More traditional disinvestment-investment type behaviours characterise investment in farm building in France and the UK, across support types, and Italy for both asset classes under coupled payments. The long-run dynamic adjustment of capital stocks is consistently and significantly estimated to be towards a – mostly non-stationary – lower level of capitalisation of the farm analysed. By contrast, the expected largely positive short-run effects of an increase in output prices are often not significant. The effect of CAP support on both types of investment is positive, although seldom significant, while the proxy for uncertainty employed fails to be significant yet, in most cases, has the expected effect of reducing the investment levels.
    Date: 2013–05
  6. By: Eozenou, Patrick; Madani, Dorsati; Swinkels, Rob
    Abstract: This paper provides new insight into the poverty, malnutrition and vulnerability issues in Mali, using existing household survey data. First, it presents a profile of households that are poor,"food poor,"or have malnourished children. Second, it explores the impact of recent weather and price shocks on household welfare and identifies those affected most by the shocks. Finally, it estimates vulnerability to poverty by modeling both households'expected consumption and their consumption volatility, and by distinguishing between idiosyncratic and covariate risks. The basic results of the analysis match conventional knowledge about poverty, food poverty, and malnutrition. The prevalence of chronic malnutrition is high in Mali, with 44 percent of Malian households and 66 percent of food poor Malian households having at least one stunted child. A 25 percent increase in cereal prices and a 25 percent decrease in cereal production are estimated to increase the number of food poor by 610,000 people. An estimated US$ 5.4 million of extra aid per year will be needed to lift the newly food poor above the food poverty line. About US$ 182 million is needed to do this for all existing and new food poor. Vulnerability incidence is in general two to three times higher among the poor than the non-poor, except in urban areas and in the region of Sikasso where the vulnerability incidence is five to six times higher among the poor. Overall, vulnerability is mostly driven by poverty induced vulnerability, except in the capital, Bamako, where vulnerability is more driven by risk induced vulnerability.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Regional Economic Development,Food&Beverage Industry,Poverty Lines
    Date: 2013–08–01
  7. By: Conor O'Toole (Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin and Economic and Social Research Institute); Thia Hennessy (Teagasc)
    Abstract: This paper empirically tests whether decoupled subsidies decrease investment financing constraints faced by farms. Using a panel dataset from Ireland over the period 2005-2010, we test whether the CAP decoupled subsidy payments reduce credit constraints by altering the risk profile of farm earnings. We test for financing constraints in a neoclassical Q model using a measure of the financial composition of capital in ows as well as investment-cash ow sensitivities. Our econometric methodology controls for censoring, heterogeneity and endogeneity. We find that decoupled subsidies do reduce credit constraints and the result is robust to model selection and constraint measurement. The effect is greater for farms who face higher constraints: medium-sized farms relative to large farms and middle-age and older farm operators relative to younger farmers. This evidence suggests that, over and above the effect on production indicated in previous research, decoupling affects farm investment through financial channels.
    Keywords: Decoupling, Farm investment, Access to finance, GMM, Q model of finance
    Date: 2013–08
  8. By: Smale, Melinda; Birol, Ekin
    Abstract: This analysis explores smallholder demand for hybrid maize seed by subsidy receipt. We test the hypothesis that the hybrid maize subsidy in Zambia is selectively biased due in part to its delivery mechanism and the self-selection of farmers who are able or choose to exercise their claim. Our analysis found that farmers with a lower poverty headcount are more likely to receive subsidized seed. In addition, a segment of farmers with a high predicted demand for hybrid seed are not reached by FISP—and they are poorer in terms of land and income than those who obtain the subsidy. These farmers represent a potentially important demand segment for HarvestPlus, which might consider addressing their needs through means other than a subsidy program.
    Keywords: Zambia, Southern Africa, Africa south of Sahara, Africa, Hybrid maize, smallholder, decisionmaking, subsidies, Seed supply
    Date: 2013
  9. By: Committee on Evaluating Progress of Obesity Prevention Effort; Food; Nutrition Board; Institute of Medicine; of which Ronette Briefel is a member
    Keywords: Obesity Prevention, IOM, Nutrition
    JEL: I0 I1
    Date: 2013–08–02
  10. By: James Mabli; Jim Ohls; Lisa Dragoset; Laura Castner; Betsy Santos
    Keywords: SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Food Security, Nutrition
    JEL: I0 I1
    Date: 2013–08–30
  11. By: Orman, Wafa Hakim (University of Alabama in Huntsville)
    Abstract: The farm crisis in the United States in the 1980s had profound effects on rural, agricultural regions of the country, but almost no impact on urban and suburban areas. I use a difference-in-difference methodology and find that religiosity as measured by religious attendance increased significantly in areas impacted by the crisis for those who worked in agriculture. Chen (2010) describes increased religiosity in Indonesia following the 1998 financial crisis, and this paper demonstrates a similar response to severe financial distress in the United States. I also find evidence that this increase is not due to a lower opportunity cost of time, as those who are currently employed have higher levels of attendance than those who are not. I hypothesize that the increased religiosity results from religious institutions' ability to provide public goods, both financial and emotional, in the form of community support.
    Keywords: religious attendance, financial distress, farm crisis, religiosity
    JEL: J22 Q12 Z12
    Date: 2013–07
  12. By: Pierre-Philippe Combes (Université d'Aix-Marseille - PRES Aix Marseille Université, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR); Gilles Duranton (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania - University of Pennsylvania); Laurent Gobillon (CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales [EHESS] - Ecole des Ponts ParisTech - Ecole normale supérieure de Paris - ENS Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, INED - Institut National d'Etudes Démographiques Paris - INED, IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor - IZA)
    Abstract: We develop a new methodology to estimate the elasticity of urban costs with respect to city population using French land price data. Our preferred estimate, which handles a number of estimation concerns, stands at 0.041. Our approach also yields a number of intermediate outputs of independent interest such as a distance gradient for land prices and the elasticity of unit land prices with respect to city population. For the latter, our preferred estimate is 0.72.
    Keywords: Urban costs ; Land prices ; Land use ; Agglomeration
    Date: 2013–07–30
  13. By: Sambit Bhattacharyya; Jeffrey G. Williamson
    Abstract: This paper studies the distributional impact of commodity price shocks over both the short and very long run. Using a GARCH model, we find that Australia experienced more volatility than many commodity exporting developing countries over the periods 1865-1940 and 1960-2007. A single equation error correction model suggests that commodity price shocks increase the income share of the top 1, 0.05 and 0.01 percents in the short run. THe very top end of the income distribution benefits from commodity booms disproportionately more than the rest of the society. The short run effect is mainly driven by wool and mining and not agricultural commodities. A sustained increase in the price of renewables (wool) reduces inequality whereas the same for non-renewable resources (minerals) increases inequality. We expect the initial distribution of land and mineral resources explains the asymmetric result.
    Keywords: commodity price shocks, commodity exporters, top incomes, inequality
    JEL: F14 F43 N17 O13
    Date: 2013
  14. By: Beatrice Camaioni; Roberto Esposti; Antonello Lobianco; Francesco Pagliacci; Franco Sotte
    Abstract: Rural areas still play a major role within the EU, as Europe is still a fairly rural continent. Moreover, EU rural areas are going through greater challenges and major transformations. After the Eastern enlargements of the EU (in 2004 and 2007), they are getting more and more heterogeneous, in terms of their main socio-economic features as well as of agricultural activities. According to this increasing heterogeneity, the traditional urban-rural divide can be now considered almost outdated (OECD, 2006). Indeed, a multidimensional approach is crucial in order to catch all the different features affecting trends and development of rural areas. For example, central rural regions in Continental countries sharply differ from more peripheral rural areas still facing major development issues. This research has highlighted the main dimensions affecting EU rural areas. First, some considerations on the main drivers of EU territorial development have been analysed. Then, throughout cluster analysis, specific typologies of EU rural areas have been identified. According to this classification, clear territorial patterns emerge. Actually, clusters of more central and more accessible regions are quite different from those clusters composed by more peripheral and lagging behind regions. Thus, geography still affects deeply both the economic performance of regions and their main socio-demographic trends (both in urban and rural areas). Moreover, by computing a comprehensive PeripheRurality (PR) Index, the existence of a more complex geography at the EU scale emerges. National approaches to rural and peripheral areas should be substituted by broader approaches, encompassing all the different territorial level of the analysis.
    Keywords: Economic growth path, EU integration, rural development, regional policy
    JEL: O18 R11 R58 Q01
    Date: 2013–07
  15. By: Boansi, David; Crentsil, Christian
    Abstract: The objective of this study was to analyze the performance of Ethiopia in its exports of coffee and to estimate the magnitude and effects of key economic determinants of coffee exports, producer price and production. In analyzing the competitiveness of the country in its exports of coffee, three distinct periods were considered, namely, years under the imperial regime (1961-73), under the military rule (1974-1991) and under the reformist government (1992-2010). The Revealed Comparative Advantage (RCA) and Revealed Symmetric Comparative Advantage (RSCA) measures of competitiveness were used for the analysis. Even though the results show that Ethiopia has comparative advantage in export of coffee, the same cannot be said of its overall performance on the international market owing to factors such as challenges with management of price risk, high transaction cost resulting from the extensive nature of the supply chain and the numerous actors and processes therein, challenges with quality control, low productivity of growers’ fields, and incidence of smuggling. To improve upon its export performance and to ensure continuous growth in the major strongholds of the subsector (exports, prices and production), based upon estimates for the current study, we propose investment in yield-enhancing innovations, devising and implementation of measures to improve quality control in the supply chain, address issues with price risk, minimize incidence of smuggling and more importantly minimize transaction costs. In addition, measures should be put in place to increase and ensure continuous government support to the subsector, hold onto the current devaluation of the Ethiopian birr, ensure payment of fair prices to growers and appropriately transmit future increments, increase current area under cultivation to enhance efficient utilization of the abundant labour, and to attract more export-oriented foreign direct investments (as an opportunity for trade creation).
    Keywords: Competitiveness, supply chain, determinants, export, producer price, production
    JEL: Q1 Q11 Q13 Q17 Q18
    Date: 2013–08–04
  16. By: Vaz, Eric (Ryerson University); Aversa, Joseph (Ryerson University)
    Abstract: Urban sprawl and growth has experienced increased concern in geographic and environmental literature. Preceding the existence of robust frameworks found in regional and urban planning, as well as urban geography and economics, the spatial properties of allocation of urban land use are still far from being completely understood. This is largely due to the underlying complexity of the change found at the spatial level of urban land use, merging social, economic and natural drivers. The spatial patterns formed, and the Connectivity established among the different subsets of land-use types, becomes a complex network of interactions over time, helping to shape the structure of the city. The possibility to merge the configuration of land-use with complex networks may be assessed elegantly through graph theory. Nodes and edges can become abstract representations of typologies of Space and are represented into a topological space of different land use types which traditionally share common spatial boundaries. Within a regional framework, the links between adjacent and neighboring urban land use types become better understood, by means of a Kamada-Kawai algorithm. This study uses land use in Lisbon over three years, 1990, 2000 and 2006, to develop a Kamada-Kawai graph interpretation of land-use as a result of neighboring power. The rapid change witnessed in Lisbon since the nineties, as well as the availability of CORINE Land Cover data in these three time stamps, permits a reflection on anthropogenic land-use change in urban and semi-urban areas in Portugal’s capital. This paper responds to (1) the structure and connectivity of urban land use over time, demonstrating that most of the agricultural land is stressed to transform to urban, gaining a central role in future. (2) Offer a systemic approach to land-use transitions generating what we call spatial memory, where land use change is often unpredictable over space, but becomes evident in a graph theory framework, and (3) advance in the geovisual understanding of spatial phenomena in land use transitions by means of graph theory. Thus, the structure of this combined Method enables urban and landscape to have a better understanding of the spatial interaction of land-use types within the city, promoting an elegant solution to rapid geovisualization for land-use management in general.
    Keywords: Graph Theory; Spatial Interaction; Urban Change; Land Use Change
    JEL: R11 R14 R52 R58
    Date: 2013–08–02
  17. By: Meena, M.S.; Singh, K.M.
    Abstract: The study evaluates the behaviour construct of self help group (SHG) members. Data were solicited from randomly selected 100 SHG members of Patna district, Bihar, India at two point of time (in before and after situation), i e during 2008 and 2013. The behaviour construct developed, consisted of 30 items, for which Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of reliability was observed as 0.82. Data were solicited on three-point continuum, viz. No Change=1, Slightly Changed=2 and Highly Changed=3. The mean values of two situations (before and after situation) were compared (z-statistics) to observe the behavioural change among the SHG members. An improvement of 34.91% between pre (46.09%) and post evaluation (81%) and a significant improvement in behaviour of SHG members was observed, which exemplifies the impact of SHG approach in instilling a positive behavioural orientation. Positive behaviour could play a great role in tackling the issues of rural poverty for improving sustainable livelihood security in eastern India. To achieve this rural livelihoods must assimilate the vital facets like (i) formation and stabilization of SHGs, (ii) pro-poor financial and credit support system, (iii) market-driven and decentralized extension system, (iv) diversification towards high-value enterprises,(v) technological intervention and impact assessment, (vi) media-mix for technology transfer, (vii) frequent educational tour/visits and interaction with other SHGs and research institutes, (viii) developing leadership skills, and (ix) strong political will. Nevertheless, extension system needs to be re-oriented and revitalized with new agricultural knowledge base in emerging technologies and methodologies.
    Keywords: Behaviour, Eastern India, Livelihood Security, Self-help group
    JEL: O15 O17 O20 O31 O33 Q16 Q28
    Date: 2013–05–05
  18. By: David A. Hennessy (Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD))
    Abstract: In animal agriculture, biosecurity decisions are dispersed across many herd owners. Choices impacting disease spread will be determined by impacts on private economic values, and so are economic externalities. However, externalities are not all alike. By way of three very distinct examples, we demonstrate how they differ and what these differences mean for approaches to policies seeking to manage them. The three examples are an endemic disease pool that can be managed by limiting sources and flows, an exotic disease that can be managed by way of communicated coordination, and an infrastructural support externality that can be managed by disease outbreak insurance. We pay particular attention to how concentration in animal herd ownership affects incentives for disease control. JEL Classifications: D2, H4, Q1
    Keywords: business continuity, complements, infrastructure, substitutes.
    Date: 2013–07

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