nep-agr New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2019‒02‒25
thirteen papers chosen by

  1. Heterogeneity, Measurement Error, and Misallocation: Evidence from African Agriculture By Gollin, Douglas; Udry, Christopher
  2. Impact of Climate Variability on Staple Food Crops Production in Northern Togo By ALI, Essossinam
  3. Weather shocks and agricultural commercialization in colonial tropical Africa: did cash crops alleviate social distress? By Papaioannou, Kostadis J.; de Haas, Michiel
  4. Beyond the ownership question: who will till the land? The new debate on China’s agricultural production By Hayward, Jane
  5. The relationship between fuel and food prices: Methods, outcomes, and lessons for commodity price risk management By Karel Janda; Ladislav Kristoufek
  6. Employment in Agriculture and Food Trade: Assessing the Role of GVCs By Jared Greenville; Kentaro Kawasaki; Marie-Agnes Jouanjean
  7. Value Adding Pathways in Agriculture and Food Trade: The Role of GVCs and Services By Jared Greenville; Kentaro Kawasaki; Marie-Agnes Jouanjean
  8. "The Impact of Climate Change on Fertility" By Gregory Casey; Soheil Shayegh; Juan Moreno-Cruz; Martin Bunzl; Oded Galor; Ken Caldeira
  9. Tropical Storms and Mortality under Climate Change By Pugatch, Todd
  10. Glyphosate Use in Agriculture and Birth Outcomes of Surrounding Populations By Mateus Dias; Rudi Rocha; Rodrigo R. Soares
  11. Endogenous Information Sharing and the Gains from Using Network Information to Maximize Technology Adoption By de Janvry, Alain; Emerick, Kyle; Kelley, Erin; Sadoulet, Elisabeth
  12. Keynote: Achieving impact and outcomes with farmers and families By Boustead, Rebecca
  13. Developing a socio-economic framework for the assessment of rural biorefinery projects By M Rakotovao; J. Gobert; S Brullot

  1. By: Gollin, Douglas; Udry, Christopher
    Abstract: Standard measures of productivity display enormous dispersion across farms in Africa. Crop yields and input intensities appear to vary greatly, seemingly in conflict with a model of efficient allocation across farms. In this paper, we present a theoretical framework for distinguishing between measurement error, unobserved heterogeneity, and potential misallocation. Using rich panel data from farms in Tanzania and Uganda, we estimate our model using a flexible specification in which we allow for several kinds of measurement error and heterogeneity. We find that measurement error and heterogeneity together account for a large fraction - as much as ninety percent -- of the dispersion in measured productivity. In contrast to some previous estimates, we suggest that the potential for efficiency gains through reallocation of land across farms and farmers may be relatively modest.
    Keywords: agricultural development; agricultural production function estimation; Agricultural Productivity; firm productivity dispersion; Misallocation; productivity measurement
    JEL: O11 O12 O13 Q12
    Date: 2019–01
  2. By: ALI, Essossinam
    Abstract: This study assesses the impact of climate variability on staple food crops production in the Northern regions of Togo using cereal and climate data over the period of 1972-2013. The linear mixed model and generalized linear mixed model are used. The results indicate that maize is the most vulnerable cereal affected by the inter-seasonal and the intra-seasonal variability of temperature and precipitation compared to sorghum and rice in the study areas. However, encouraging water management in rain-fed agriculture would increase the rice production in the study areas. Policy towards the adoption of new technology to improve maize yields and cope with climatic risks is needed. The investment in rain-fed water management, promoting the use of drought-tolerant seeds and improvement of agro-meteorological information and their integration in farmers’ decision making are needed.
    Keywords: Climate variability, Staple food crops, Northern Togo
    JEL: Q1 Q18
    Date: 2018–05–16
  3. By: Papaioannou, Kostadis J.; de Haas, Michiel
    Abstract: A rapidly growing body of research examines the ways in which climatic variability influence economic and societal outcomes. This study investigates how weather shocks triggered social distress in British colonial Africa. Further, it intervenes in a long-standing and unsettled debate concerning the effects of agricultural commercialization on the abilities of rural communities to cope with exogenous shocks. We collect qualitative evidence from annual administrative records to explore the mechanisms linking weather extremes to harvest failures and social distress. We also conduct econometric testing on a novel panel dataset of 143 administrative districts across west, south-central and east Africa in the Interwar Era (1920-1939). Our findings are twofold. First, we find robust evidence that rainfall anomalies (both drought and excessive precipitation) are associated with spikes in imprisonment (our proxy for social distress). We argue that the key causal pathway is the loss of agricultural income, which results in higher imprisonment for theft, unrest, debt and tax default. Second, we find that the impact of weather shocks on distress is partially mitigated by the cultivation of export crops. Our findings suggest that, even in the British colonial context, smallholder export crop cultivation led to higher private incomes as well as greater public investment. Our findings speak to a topic of considerable urgency today as the process of global climate change accelerates, generating more severe and unpredictable climatic extremes. An increased understanding and identification of adaptive and mitigating factors, would assist in targeting policy interventions and designing adaptive institutions to support vulnerable rural societies.
    Keywords: Africa; rural livelihoods; economic history; colonialism; social distress; tropical agriculture; agricultural commercialization; environmental history
    JEL: D74 F54 N17 N57 Q17
    Date: 2017–06–01
  4. By: Hayward, Jane
    Abstract: A high-profile debate is taking place in China concerning the organization of agricultural land and production, with profound implications for China’s countryside. This debate is between those advocating for agricultural production to be taken over by large-scale agribusinesses, and those against this. Proponents regard agribusinesses as embodying modernity and progress, while those against forewarn of the channeling of profits out of peasant hands, the loss of peasants’ autonomy over labor and land, and the destruction of rural life. Recent English language publications on China’s agrarian change highlight the growing power of agribusiness and related processes of depeasantization, implying the Chinese debate on “who will till the land?” is futile. But this view obscures efforts by Chinese scholars and policymakers to promote forms of agricultural organization conducive to maintaining peasant livelihoods. By examining the Chinese debates on agribusinesses, family farms, and cooperatives, this article highlights points of contestation among policymakers and alternative possibilities, which may yet shape the course of China’s agrarian change. This article contributes to scholarship on China’s agrarian change, broader questions concerning depeasantization, and developmental possibilities under collective ownership.
    Keywords: China; peasants; land reform; agrarian change; privatization
    JEL: Q15
    Date: 2017–08–16
  5. By: Karel Janda; Ladislav Kristoufek
    Abstract: We review the fuel-food price linkage models of the time series, structural, and general or partial equilibrium nature with the main attention devoted to the time series literature. Our assessment is nested in the discussion of general commodity prices co-movement on one side and in the prediction of most likely development of biofuel policies and production development on the other side. We pay particular attention to financial markets relevant features of commodity price co-movement significant for price risk management. We show that indeed the introduction of significant biofuels policies around 2005 increased the price transmission between fossil fuels and food commodities with intuitively expected prevailing leading role of fuel prices over food prices and with particular price linkages dynamically evolving in time and depending on the particular market under consideration. The econometric results show that due to the policy induced trade barriers, there is no evidence of sufficiently integrated international biofuels market with the US, European and Brazilian markets and policies following separate paths.
    Keywords: Biofuels, fuels, food, commodities, price, risk management
    JEL: Q16 Q42 Q56
    Date: 2019–02
  6. By: Jared Greenville (OECD); Kentaro Kawasaki (OECD); Marie-Agnes Jouanjean (OECD)
    Abstract: Agricultural sectors are increasingly integrated into international markets as global value chains (GVCs) expand. This integration is helping to drive value added growth in the sector, including the returns that flow to labour. This report explores the impact that trade and agro-food GVC participation has on labour returns and thereby employment not only within the agricultural sectors, but across other sectors of the economy. At the global level, trade and agro-food GVCs generated an average of between 20-26% of total agricultural workforce returns between 2004 and 2014, and labour returns were generated from both direct participation in trade and from indirect participation through other downstream sectors. This report finds that the impact on economy-wide labour returns is on average greater for countries specialising in direct exports of primary products as compared to those specialising in indirect agricultural exports. Evidence also shows that agricultural subsidies have a negative impact both on labour returns from primary sector exports and the returns generated indirectly from processing-sector exports.
    Keywords: agricultural trade, Agriculture, Global value chains, GTAP, multi-regional output
    JEL: Q17 F14
    Date: 2019–02–20
  7. By: Jared Greenville; Kentaro Kawasaki; Marie-Agnes Jouanjean
    Abstract: Global value chains (GVCs) in agriculture and food sectors have the potential to influence trading relationships and the gains from trade for different sectors along the value chain. This report explores the way in which value from trade and GVC participation is created for the agriculture sector. It examines differences in returns to the sector from participation in GVCs and trade either directly in contrast to participation that relies on downstream domestic processing. The study makes use of a database on trade in value added for 22 agro-food sectors derived from the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) database. The evidence presented in this paper suggests that aggregate value to the agriculture and to the economy overall from direct participation in trade and GVCs generates at least as much value as participation that relies on domestic downstream processing. Similar overall gains from primary exports are associated with greater volumes and the value created from ‘value addition’ to these exports – the embodied service and other inputs. Indeed, countries that specialise in primary exports have higher shares of service value added in these exports, with this also being a determinant of value growth for middle-income countries.
    Keywords: agricultural trade, GTAP, Multi-regional output
    JEL: Q17 F14
    Date: 2019–02–19
  8. By: Gregory Casey; Soheil Shayegh; Juan Moreno-Cruz; Martin Bunzl; Oded Galor; Ken Caldeira
    Abstract: "We examine the potential for climate change to impact fertility via adaptations in human behaviour. We start by discussing a wide range of economic channels through which climate change might impact fertility, including sectoral reallocation, the gender wage gap, longevity, and child mortality. Then, we build a quantitative model that combines standard economicdemographic theory with existing estimates of the economic consequences of climate change. In the model, increases in global temperature affect agricultural and non-agricultural sectors differently. Near the equator, where many poor countries are located, climate change has a larger negative effect on agriculture. The resulting scarcity in agricultural goods acts as a force towards higher agricultural prices and wages, leading to a labor reallocation into this sector. Since agriculture makes less use of skilled labor, climate damages decrease the return to acquiring skills, inducing parents to invest less resources in the education of each child and to increase fertility. These patterns are reversed at higher latitudes, suggesting that climate change may exacerbate inequities by reducing fertility and increasing education in richer northern countries, while increasing fertility and reducing education in poorer tropical countries. While the model only examines the role of one specific mechanism, it suggests that climate change could have an impact on fertility, indicating the need for future work on this important topic."
    Date: 2019
  9. By: Pugatch, Todd (Oregon State University)
    Abstract: Extreme weather induced by climate change can have major consequences for human health. In this study, I quantify the effect of tropical storm frequency and severity on mortality using objective meteorological data and the universe of vital statistics records from a large developing country, Mexico. Using a measure of storm exposure that accounts for both windspeed dispersion and population density along the storm track, I project changes in past storm-related mortality under various scenarios of continued climate change, while holding population and income at current levels. I find that storm-related deaths would have risen under most climate change scenarios considered, with increases of as much as 52% or declines of as much as 10%, depending on the interplay between increasing storm severity and decreased frequency.
    Keywords: climate change, human health, human mortality, natural disasters, hurricanes, tropical cyclones, tropical storms, developing countries, Latin America, Mexico
    JEL: I15 J10 O13
    Date: 2019–01
  10. By: Mateus Dias; Rudi Rocha; Rodrigo R. Soares
    Abstract: This paper assesses the impact of glyphosate use in agriculture on birth outcomes of human populations in surrounding areas. Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world. Still, despite ongoing controversy, little is known about its effects on human populations at large. Our empirical strategy relies on the fact that glyphosate is strongly complementary to the use of genetically modified seeds in soybean production. We use an instrument based on the gains in productivity from adoption of genetically modified soybeans and look at externalities across municipalities sharing the same water resources. We detect negative and statistically significant effects of glyphosate use on birth outcomes. Our results indicate externality effects of glyphosate use on populations distant from the original locations of use, but receiving water from these locations.
    Keywords: Glyphosate, herbicides, birth outcomes, infant mortality, water, externalities.
    JEL: I18 Q53 Q15 O33
    Date: 2019–02–14
  11. By: de Janvry, Alain; Emerick, Kyle; Kelley, Erin; Sadoulet, Elisabeth
    Abstract: Can agents in a social network be induced to obtain information from outside their peer groups? Using a field experiment in rural Bangladesh, we show that demonstration plots in agriculture - a technique where the first users of a new variety cultivate it in a side-by-side comparison with an existing variety - facilitate social learning by inducing conversations and information sharing outside of existing social networks. We compare these improvements in learning with those from seeding new technology with more central farmers in village social networks. The demonstration plots - when cultivated by randomly selected farmers - improve knowledge by just as much as seeding with more central farmers. Moreover, the demonstration plots only induce conversations and facilitate learning for farmers that were unconnected to entry points at baseline. Finally, we combine this diffusion experiment with an impact experiment to show that both demonstration plots and improved seeding transmit information to farmers that are less likely to benefit from the new innovation.
    Keywords: agriculture; Social learning; Technology adoption
    Date: 2019–02
  12. By: Boustead, Rebecca
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety
    Date: 2018–08–13
  13. By: M Rakotovao; J. Gobert (LEESU - Laboratoire Eau Environnement et Systèmes Urbains - AgroParisTech - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - UPEC UP12 - Université Paris-Est Créteil Val-de-Marne - Paris 12); S Brullot
    Abstract: A rural biorefinery is a facility set up in a territory which transforms local biomass into a wide range of products and energy. Contrary to the port biorefineries where raw materials are mainly imported, their sourcing is carried out on a more restricted area or even on a local area. Indeed, they are characterized by the importance of their integration process as they maintain more or less close links with the territory, especially with the farming community. In addition to being a source of income for farmers, these biorefineries create new opportunities for non-farm sectors. Recently, research has been conducted to assess biorefinery sustainability. However, the balance between the three pillars of sustainable development is not established as studies focus more on environmental assessments to the detriment of socioeconomic dimensions. In addition, socioeconomic assessments of rural agro-industrial projects are often limited to economic indices, which are not sufficient to evaluate the fallout on the territory. Then, the purpose of this paper is to propose a socioeconomic evaluation grid to measure the territorial embeddedness of rural biorefineries.
    Keywords: Rural biorefinery,Socio-economic impact,Assessment,territorial embeddedness
    Date: 2018

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