New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2013‒10‒05
nineteen papers chosen by

  1. Missing Water: Agricultural Stress and Adaptation Strategies in Response to Groundwater Depletion in India By Sheetal Sekhri
  2. Agricultural Advisors: A Receptive Audience for Weather and Climate Information? By Prokopy, Linda; Haigh, Tonya; Mase, Amber; Angel, Jim; Hart, Chad E.; Knutson, Cody; Lemos, Maria; Lo, Yun-Jia; McGuire, Jean; Morton, Lois; Perron, Jennifer; Todey, Dennis; Widhalm, Melissa
  3. Impacts of the EU biofuel policy on agricultural markets and land use - Modelling assessment with AGLINK-COSIMO (2012 version) By Sophie Hélaine; Robert M’barek; Stephan Hubertus Gay
  4. White Paper on the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). By Charlotte Cabili; Esa Eslami; Ronette Briefel
  5. Agricultural Trade, Institutions, and Depletion of Natural Resources By Sheetal Sekhri; Paul Landefeld
  6. Is women's ownership of land a panacea in developing countries? Evidence from land-owning farm households in Malawi By Sumon K. Bhaumik; Ralitza Dimova; Ira N. Gang
  7. Feasibility Study on the Valuation of Public Goods and Externalities in EU Agriculture By Livia Madureira; Jose Lima Santos; Ana Ferreira; Helena Guimarães
  8. Urban wastewater and agricultural reuse challenges in India By Amerasinghe, Priyanie; Bhardwaj, R. M.; Scott, C.; Jella, Kiran; Marshall, F.
  9. The Poverty Effects of a “Fat-Tax” in Ireland By David Madden
  10. How Much is Clean Water Worth? Valuing Water Quality Improvement Using A Meta Analysis By Ge, Jiaqi; Kling, Catherine L.; Herriges, Joseph A.
  11. Antes de la política hidráulica. La gestión del agua bajo el Estado liberal en España (1833-1866) By Salvador Calatayud
  12. Dowry Deaths: Consumption Smoothing in Response to Climate Variability in India By Sheetal Sekhri; Adam Storeygard
  13. Great Expectations: How Credit Markets Twist the Allocation and Distribution of Land By Mason Gaffney
  15. Less Is More? Implications of Regulatory Capture for Natural Resource Depletion By Sheetal Sekhri; Sriniketh Nagavarapu
  16. Domestic Incentive Measures for Renewable Energy With Possible Trade Implications By Heymi Bahar; Jagoda Egeland; Ronald Steenblik
  17. Measuring Environmental Regulatory Stringency By Claire Brunel; Arik Levinson
  18. Famine, Finance, and Adjustment to Environmental Shock: Microcredit and the Great Famine in Ireland By Goodspeed, Tyler
  19. Imperfect Eco-labeling Signal in a Bertrand Duopoly By Lucie Bottega; Jenny De Freitas

  1. By: Sheetal Sekhri
    Abstract: Groundwater depletion is becoming a serious policy concern in many developing countries but little is known about the costs of groundwater depletion. I use annual deviations of depth to groundwater from 1999 to 2003 from the 1985-1995 decadal means for Indian districts, to investigate how production and sown area respond to groundwater uctuations. I nd that a 1 meter decline in groundwater in a year reduces food-grain production by 8 percent, water intensive crop production by 9 percent and cash crops by 5 percent. I also use year-to-year transitions of groundwater around a cuto value, at which cost of technology required to access groundwater exogenously increases due to physical constraints, to examine coping mechanisms. I nd that for short run shocks around this cuto, sown area for food-grains and water intensive crops falls by 7 to 8 percent, whereas there is no change for cash crops. I evaluate the eect of the transition of 10 year means of groundwater around this cuto on exit from farming. I do not nd evidence of exit of marginal or small farmers from agriculture. mitigating eect.
    Keywords: Groundwater Depletion; Agricultural Production; India
    JEL: O10 O13 Q54
    Date: 2013–10
  2. By: Prokopy, Linda; Haigh, Tonya; Mase, Amber; Angel, Jim; Hart, Chad E.; Knutson, Cody; Lemos, Maria; Lo, Yun-Jia; McGuire, Jean; Morton, Lois; Perron, Jennifer; Todey, Dennis; Widhalm, Melissa
    Abstract: As the climate in the Midwestern United States becomes increasingly variable due to global climate change, it is critical to provide tools to the agricultural community to ensure adaptability and profitability of agricultural cropping systems. When used by farmers and their advisors, agricultural decision support tools can reduce uncertainty and risks in the planning, operation, and management decisions of the farm enterprise. Agricultural advisors have historically played a key role in providing information and guidance in these decisions. However, little is known about what these advisors know or think about weather and climate information and their willingness to incorporate this type of information into their advice to farmers. In this exploratory study, a diverse set of professionals who advise corn growers, including government, non-profit, for-profit and Extension personnel, were surveyed in four states in the Midwestern Corn Belt. Results from the survey indicate that advisors are more influenced by current weather conditions and 1-7 day forecasts than longer term climate outlooks. Advisors predominantly consider historical weather trends and/or forecasts in their advice to farmers on short-term operational decisions versus on longer-term tactical and strategic decisions. The main conclusion from this analysis is that opportunities exist to further engage the advisor community on weather and climate issues and, through them, the farmers who are managing the land.
    Keywords: climate change; profitability; cropping systems
    JEL: Q54
    Date: 2013–04–01
  3. By: Sophie Hélaine (European Commission – DG AGRI); Robert M’barek (European Commission – JRC-IPTS); Stephan Hubertus Gay (European Commission – DG AGRI)
    Abstract: The report aims to analyse different scenarios that could occur in the EU in the years to come. First is an assumed situation in which by 2020 biofuels would contribute 8% towards the RE transport target; other RE in transport such as renewable electricity would have to fill the remaining gap. Secondly the EC's ILUC proposal is analysed. Finally a complete removal of the biofuel policy in the EU is simulated. All scenarios are compared to a situation without any change in policy. The simulations are run with the AGLINK-COSIMO model, described in Chapter 2. The consequences of these scenarios on the EU biofuel market are analysed in Chapter 3, the impacts on feedstock prices and balances in the EU are presented in Chapter 4, and on world prices in Chapter 5. Chapter 6 presents the main changes in land use worldwide.
    Keywords: Economic analysis, biofuels, baseline, impact assessment, agricultural trade, agricultural markets, competitiveness, modelling tools, land use
    Date: 2013–03
  4. By: Charlotte Cabili; Esa Eslami; Ronette Briefel
    Keywords: TEFAP, Emergency Food Assistance Program, Nutrition
    JEL: I0 I1
    Date: 2013–08–30
  5. By: Sheetal Sekhri; Paul Landefeld
    Abstract: Globalization can lead to either conservation or depletion of natural resources that are used in the production of traded goods. Rising prices may lead to better resource man- agement. Alternatively, stronger incentives to extract these resources may exacerbate their decline- especially in open access institutional frameworks. We examine the impact of agricultural trade promotion on the groundwater extraction in India using nationally representative data from 1996-2005. We nd evidence that trade promotion leads to de- pletion of groundwater reserves. Access to world markets does not result in emergence of institutions that would enable protection of the resource.
    Keywords: Groundwater Depletion, Agricultural Trade
    JEL: O13 Q25 Q56
    Date: 2013–09
  6. By: Sumon K. Bhaumik; Ralitza Dimova; Ira N. Gang
    Abstract: Our analysis of a rich representative household survey for Malawi, where patrilineal and matrilineal institutions coexist, suggests that (a) in matrilineal societies the likelihood of cash crop cultivation by a household increases with the extent of land owned (or de facto controlled) by males, and (b) and cultivation of cash crops increases household welfare. The policy implication is that facilitating female ownership of assets through informal and formal institutions does not, on its own, increase welfare, if women do not have access to complementary resources that are needed to generate income from those assets.
    Keywords: female ownership of assets, informal institutions, cash crops, household welfare
    JEL: Q12 O2 O13 J16
    Date: 2013–08–15
  7. By: Livia Madureira (University of Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal); Jose Lima Santos (Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal); Ana Ferreira (University of Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal); Helena Guimarães (Algarve University, Portugal)
    Abstract: The present report develops and test and up an up-scaled non-market valuation framework to value changes in the provision level of the public goods and externalities (PGaE) of EU agriculture from the demand-side (i.e. using valuation surveys). The selected PGaE included in the study are the following: cultural landscape, farmland biodiversity, water quality and availability, air quality, soil quality, climate stability, resilience to fire and resilience to flooding. The evaluation framework has been based in "macro-regions" which can be defined as "multi-country areas with homogeneous agro-ecological infra-structures across EU". The following achievements have been accomplished along the project development: 1) comprehensive description of the study selected PGaE 2) Description of the selected agricultural PGaE using agri-environmental indicators, 3) contribution to a better and more standardised description of the agri-environmental public goods and externalities build on disentangling of the macro-regional agro-ecological infra-structures from its ecological and cultural services, 4) delimitation of wide areas with homogeneous agro-ecological infra-structures across EU, designated “macro-regions”, 5) delimitation of the macro-regions, independently from their supply of PGaE, disentangling the respective agro-ecological infra-structure from its ecological and cultural services, 6) definition of “Macro-Regional Agri-Environmental Problems” (MRAEP), through the association of the “macro-regions” with the core PGaE supplied by them, delivering non-market demand-side valuation problems relevant to the agricultural and agri-environmental policy decision-makers, 7) design of a Choice Modelling (CM) survey able to gather multi-country value estimates of changes in the provision level of different PGaE supplied by different EU broad regions (the macro-regions), 8) successful testing of the valuation framework through a pilot survey and 9) Delivering of alternative sampling plans for the EU level large-scale survey allowing for different options regarding the number of surveyed countries, the size and composition of respective samples, and the survey administration-mode, balanced with estimates for the corresponding budgetary cost.
    Keywords: Public Goods, Externalities, Agriculture, European Union, Choice Modelling, Evaluation
    Date: 2013–09
  8. By: Amerasinghe, Priyanie; Bhardwaj, R. M.; Scott, C.; Jella, Kiran; Marshall, F.
    Keywords: Water management; Wastewater irrigation; Wastewater treatment; Urban areas; Sewage; Irrigated sites; Water quality; Water use; Water supply; Irrigated farming; Crop production; Drinking water; Health hazards; Sanitation; Households; Living standards; Income; Case studies; GIS; India
    Date: 2013
  9. By: David Madden (University College Dublin)
    Abstract: To combat growing levels of obesity, health related taxes have been suggested with taxes on foods high in fat or sugar. Such taxes have been criticised on the basis of their regressivity and potentially adverse impact upon poverty. This paper analyses the effect of such taxes on a range of poverty measures and also examines the effect of a revenue-neutral tax subsidy mix with a tax on unhealthy food combined with a subsidy on more healthy food. Using Irish expenditure data, the results indicate that taxes on high fat/sugar goods on their own will be regressive but that a tax-subsidy combination can be broadly neutral with respect to poverty.
    Keywords: Poverty efficiency;consumption dominance
    Date: 2013–03–25
  10. By: Ge, Jiaqi; Kling, Catherine L.; Herriges, Joseph A.
    Abstract: This paper has developed and estimated a valuation model for water quality improvement. After reviewing more than 100 studies, we set up a data set that has 332 valuations from 38 distinct studies. Based on the data set, we estimate a linear valuation model, which can then be used to predict the mean willingness to pay by households living in a given region for water quality improvement at a given site. For instance, the willingness to pay by a typical household living in the state of Iowa for a water quality increase from 40 to 50 (out of 100) at a one-square-mile aquatic site, like Iowa’s Spirit Lake, is predicted to be $137.52. The valuation model developed in this paper is particularly convenient when we want to evaluate the benefit of a project that aims at improving water quality, but a primary study is too costly or time consuming.
    Date: 2013–03–30
  11. By: Salvador Calatayud
    Abstract: The regulation of the use of water in Spain went through a profound transformation during the first decades of the liberal State. Liberalism introduced institutional changes which affected all those aspects related to the use and administration of water resources. Water property rights were established and water was declared, for its most part, a public property. Priorities on the water resource use were fixed. Common organizational ways were introduced in all communities dedicated to irrigation. In this respect, the State set a wide margin of autonomy in the water management, although it kept the supervision and the rights of the Administration to intercede in the life within those communities. All irrigation systems were forced to have written regulations and those internal rules were homogenized. And, finally, the State interceded in the conflicts raised in a great amount of canals, especially in the newly created ones or in those whose construction had been interrupted during the crisis of the old regime. The outcome was a new institutional framework, developed at the same time that the Administration of the new State became established. During thirty years partial regulations were promulgated and the state's capacity to apply them was put to test. This process culminated in 1866 with the unification of these rules in a Water Law which would regulate this natural resource during more than a century.
    Keywords: Water management, Rural History, State building
    JEL: D70 N13 N53 Q25
    Date: 2013–10
  12. By: Sheetal Sekhri; Adam Storeygard
    Abstract: We examine the eect of rainfall shocks on crimes against women using data from 583 Indian districts for 2002-2007. We nd that a one standard deviation decline in annual rainfall from the local mean increases reported domestic violence by 4.4 percent and dowry deaths by 7.8 percent. Wet shocks have no apparent eect. These patterns are consistent with consumption smoothing by households relying on agriculture, but inconsistent with hypotheses emphasizing general unrest. Women's political representation in the national parliament has no apparent mitigating eect.
    Keywords: Dowry Deaths, Consumption Smoothing, Climate Shocks
    JEL: O10 O13 Q54
    Date: 2013–03
  13. By: Mason Gaffney (Department of Economics, University of California Riverside)
    Date: 2013–05
  14. By: Benjamin Eden (Vanderbilt University)
    Abstract: I use a flexible price version of the Prescott (1975) hotels model to explain variations in price dispersion across goods sold by supermarkets in Chicago. The main finding is that price dispersion measures are positively correlated with proxies for demand uncertainty. I also find that price dispersion measures are negatively correlated with the average price but are not negatively correlated with the revenues from selling the good (across stores and weeks) and with the number of stores that sell the good.
    JEL: D4 L0
    Date: 2013–10–03
  15. By: Sheetal Sekhri; Sriniketh Nagavarapu
    Abstract: Well-designed regulation can check politically driven ineciencies, but it can also ex- acerbate distortions if politicians capture the regulators. We examine the consequences of strengthening India's electricity transmission regulatory structure for groundwater ex- traction, where electricity is the key input, and we nd evidence of regulatory capture by politicians. Guided by our model, in which politicians of national and regional parties compete for parliamentary seats, we show that empowering regulators amplied distortions in groundwater extraction in favor of national candidates, who have greater incentives and abilities to co-opt the regulators. Using nationally representative groundwater data from India for 1996-2006, we estimate that regulatory capture led to a 2.75 meter additional de- cline in water tables in closely-contested constituencies won by national parties' candidates. The short-term cost in closely-contested regional constituencies is around an 18 percent re- duction in agricultural production.
    Keywords: Regulatory Capture; Groundwater Depletion; Political Capture
    JEL: O10 O13 Q54
    Date: 2013–10
  16. By: Heymi Bahar; Jagoda Egeland; Ronald Steenblik
    Abstract: In recent years the manufacturing of renewable-energy technologies has become truly global. The associated rise in international investment and trade in goods and services related to renewable energy has been rapid, but it has not always been smooth. Already there have been challenges at the WTO, and the unilateral imposition of countervailing and anti-dumping duties, in response to some countries‘ policies on the grounds that they distort trade. Against this background, this paper surveys, through the lenses of market-pull and technology-push policies, the numerous domestic incentives used by governments to promote renewable energy, focusing on those that might have implications for trade — both those that are likely to increase opportunities for trade and those that may be inhibiting imports or promoting exports. Many OECD countries, and an increasing number of non-OECD countries, have established national targets for renewable energy. To help boost the rate of penetration of renewable energy in their economies, most of the same countries are providing additional incentives. Market-pull incentives for the deployment of renewable-energy-based electricity generating plants include quota systems, usually administrated through "green" certificates, and fixed per kilowatt-hour feed-in tariffs and premiums. Renewable fuels for transport are typically promoted by governments through obliging fuel suppliers to mix ethanol or biodiesel with their corresponding petroleum-derived fuels. Frequently, renewable fuels for transport also benefit from exemptions, or reductions in, fuel-excise taxes, and in a few countries from production bounties. Many national and sub-national governments also support capital formation in these industries with grants, subsidised loans, loan guarantees, or a combination of instruments. In some jurisdictions, access to government support schemes have been made conditional upon meeting certain minimum levels of domestic content. Such domestic-content requirements are highly controversial because of their direct effects on trade. These effects, and the effects of other policies in combination and in isolation, are examined through a graphical analysis of generic policies, using a simplified stylised representation of the relevant markets. The basic message is that while many domestic incentives are both increasing the supply of renewable energy and facilitating trade in associated technologies and renewable fuels, some — especially those combined with border protection or domestic-content requirements — are likely reducing export opportunities for foreign suppliers, and raising domestic prices for renewable energy as a consequence.
    Keywords: trade, environment, renewable energy, environmental subsidies, bioenergy, biofuels
    JEL: F18 H23 L98 O38 Q42 Q56 Q58
    Date: 2013–06–27
  17. By: Claire Brunel; Arik Levinson
    Abstract: Researchers have long been interested in whether environmental regulations discourage investment, reduce labour demand, or alter patterns of international trade. But estimating those consequences of regulations requires devising a means of measuring their stringency empirically. While creating such a measure is often portrayed as a data-collection problem, we identify four fundamental conceptual obstacles, which we label multidimensionality, simultaneity, industrial composition, and capital vintage. We then describe the long history of attempts to measure environmental regulatory stringency, and assess their relative success in light of those obstacles. Finally, we propose a new measure of stringency that would be based on emissions data and could be constructed separately for different pollutants.
    Keywords: trade and environment, environmental regulations, environmental subsidies
    JEL: C26 C43 C83 D78 F18 L51 Q52 Q53 Q58
    Date: 2013–08–22
  18. By: Goodspeed, Tyler
    Abstract: The Great Famine of Ireland from 1845-51 ranks as one of the most lethal of all time, claiming approximately one eighth of the country’s population. Utilizing Famine Relief Commission reports to develop a micro-level dataset of blight severity, I find that in the short run, districts more severely infected by blight experienced larger population declines and accumulations of buffer livestock. In the medium and long runs, however, worse affected districts experienced greater substitutions toward other tillage crops and grazing livestock. Using annual reports of the Irish Loan Funds, I further find that access to microfinance credit was an important factor in short- and long-run adjustment to blight. Districts with at least one microfinance fund during the Famine experienced substantially smaller population declines and larger increases in buffer livestock during and immediately after the Famine, and greater medium- and long-run substitutions toward other crops and grazing livestock, than districts without a fund.
    Keywords: microfinance, famine, development, economic history, agriculture, adjustment
    JEL: A1 N0 O1 Q0 Q00
    Date: 2013–07
  19. By: Lucie Bottega (Toulouse School of Economics); Jenny De Freitas (Universitat de les Illes Balears)
    Abstract: In a Bertrand duopoly model, we study firms’ eco-labeling behavior when certification process imperfectly signals environmental product quality to consumers. The test is noisy in the sense that brown products may be labeled while green products may not. We study how strategic interaction shapes firms’ incentives to get certified, equilibrium demand, prices and social welfare. We find that the eco-labeling policy is welfare enhancing for all parameter values. Nevertheless, the separating testing equilibrium may be too costly to sustain when the green firm probability to pass the test is small. Moreover, if the certification technology is soft, meaning that both brown and green units are awarded the label with high probability, it would be easier to sustain a separating equilibrium. This is a consequence of price strategic interaction between firms that gives firms incentives to coordinate on a separating equilibrium.
    Keywords: Imperfect Certification, Eco-label, Duopoly, Welfare Analysis, Environmental Quality, Credence Attribute
    JEL: C72 D21 D60 D82 L15 Q50
    Date: 2013

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NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.