nep-agr New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2019‒04‒29
twenty-six papers chosen by

  1. Labor savings in agriculture and inequality at different spatial scales: The expansion of oil palm in Indonesia By Kubitza, Christoph; Dib, Jonida Bou; Kopp, Thomas; Krishna, Vijesh V.; Nuryartono, Nunung; Qaim, Matin; Romero, Miriam; Klasen, Stephan
  2. Land Reform and Productivity: A Quantitative Analysis with Micro Data By Tasso Adamopoulos; Diego Restuccia
  3. Net-Zero Emissions Energy Systems By Davis, Steven J; Lewis, Nathan S.; Shaner, Matthew; Aggarwal, Sonia; Arent, Doug; Azevedo, Inês; Benson, Sally; Bradley, Thomas; Brouwer, Jack; Chiang, Yet-Ming; Clack, Christopher T.M.; Cohen, Armond; Doig, Stephen; Edmonds, Jae; Fennell, Paul; Field, Christopher B.; Hannegan, Bryan; Hodge, Bri-Mathias; Hoffert, Martin I.; Ingersoll, Eric; Jaramillo, Paulina; Lackner, Klaus S.; Mach, Katharine J.; Mastrandrea, Michael; Ogden, Joan M.; Peterson, Per F.; Sanchez, Daniel L.; Sperling, Daniel; Stagner, Joseph; Trancik, Jessika E.; Yang, Chi-Jen; Caldeira, Ken
  4. Land-use change, nutrition, and gender roles in Indonesian farm households By Chrisendo, Daniel; Krishna, Vijesh V.; Siregar, Hermanto; Qaim, Matin
  5. A meta-analysis of the price and income elasticities of food demand By Fabienne Femenia
  6. Impact Of Livestock Development Programmes On Production & Risk: Case Of The Kaonafatso Ya Dikgomo (KyD) Programme By Ngarava, S.; Mushunje, A.; Chaminuka, P.
  7. Income Shocks and Poverty Traps: Asset Smoothing in Rural Ethiopia By Douglas Scott
  8. Oil price volatility spillover effects on food prices in Nigeria By Azeez, Rasheed Oluwaseyi
  9. Farm restructuring in Uzbekistan: What next? By Petrick, Martin; Djanibekov, Nodir
  10. Welfare effects of land market liberalization scenarios in Ukraine: Evidence-based economic perspective By Kvartiuk, Vasyl; Herzfeld, Thomas
  11. Promoting sustainable land use choices in Indonesia: Experimental evidence on the role of changing mindsets and structural barriers By Romero, Miriam; Wollni, Meike; Rudolf, Katrin; Asnawi, Rosyani; Irawan, Bambang
  12. Income diversification and household welfare in Uganda 1992-2012 By Rumman Khan; Oliver Morrissey
  13. Addressing urban sprawl from the complexity sciences By Bosch, Martí; Chenal, Jérôme; Joost, Stéphane
  14. Plastics in life cycle perspective: Insights from the ELCA literature By Endler, Malte Johannes; Wolf, André
  15. When Do Local Governments Regulate Land Use to Serve Regional Goals?: Results of a Survey Tracking Land Use Changes that Support Sustainable Mobility By Sciara, Gian-Claudia; Strand, Sarah
  16. Framework for Life Cycle Assessment of Complete Streets Projects By Harvey, John T.; Kendall, Alissa; Saboori, Arash; Ostovar, Maryam; Butt, Ali A.; Hernandez, Jesus; Haynes, Bruce
  17. The Development of Lifecycle Data for Hydrogen Fuel Production and Delivery By Miller, Marshall; Raju, Arun S.K.; Roy, Partho Sarothi
  18. Mechanization in Nepalese agriculture: Potential knowledge gaps and significance By Avinash Gupta
  19. The Effects of Subsidies and Mandates: A Dynamic Model of the Ethanol Industry By Lawell, Cynthia Lin; Yi, Fujin; Thome, Karen E
  20. Onboard Feedback to Promote Eco-Driving: Average Impact and Important Features By Sanguinetti, Angela
  21. Evaluation of Feasibility of UAV Technologies for Remote Surveying BART Rail Systems By Lau Banh, Megan; Foina, Aislan; Li, Dachuan; Lin, Yeshun; Nerona Redondo, Xavier Aloysius; Shong, Charlene; Zhang, Wei-Bin
  22. Market Segments in the Fresh Balaton Tart Cherry Market in Michigan By Lagoudakis, Angelos; Behe, Bridget; Malone, Trey
  23. Renewable Natural Gas Research Center Project By Raju, Arun; Roy, Partho S
  24. Gender Differential Effects of Technical and Vocational Training: Empirical Evidence for Tanzania By Cornel Joseph; Vincent Leyaro
  25. Blood Donations and Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment By Götte, Lorenz; Stutzer, Alois
  26. Financial Transfers and Climate Cooperation By Suzi Kerr; Steffen Lippert; Edmund Lou

  1. By: Kubitza, Christoph; Dib, Jonida Bou; Kopp, Thomas; Krishna, Vijesh V.; Nuryartono, Nunung; Qaim, Matin; Romero, Miriam; Klasen, Stephan
    Abstract: Labor saving innovations are essential to increase agricultural productivity, but they might also increase inequality through displacing labor. Empirical evidence on such labor displacements is limited. This study uses representative data at local and national scales to analyze labor market effects of the expansion of oil palm among smallholder farmers in Indonesia. Oil palm is labor-saving in the sense that it requires much less labor per unit of land than alternative crops. The labor market effects depend on how oil-palm-adopting farm households reallocate the saved labor time; either to the off-farm sector or to cultivating additional land. If adopters increase their labor supply to the off-farm sector, employment and wages of rural laborers might decrease. This is especially true for female agricultural laborers, who are often employed in alternative crops but less in oil palm, as their labor productivity in this particular crop is lower than that of men. However, our results suggest that oil palm adoption in Indonesia largely led to the cultivation of additional land, entailing higher agricultural labor demand, especially for men. At the same time, the oil palm boom caused broader rural economic development, providing additional employment opportunities also in the non-agricultural sector, thus absorbing some of the female labor released from agriculture. Overall employment rates did not decrease, neither for men nor for women. While this is good news from economic and social perspectives, the cropland expansion contributes to deforestation with adverse environmental effects. Policies to curb deforestation are needed. Forest conservation policies should go hand-in-hand with measures to further improve rural non-agricultural employment opportunities, to avoid negative socioeconomic effects for poor rural laborers, and women in particular.
    Keywords: tree-planting,oil palm,intentions,mediation,Asia
    JEL: Q23 R14 J61
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Tasso Adamopoulos; Diego Restuccia
    Abstract: We assess the effects of a major land policy change on farm size and agricultural productivity using a quantitative model and micro-level data. We study the 1988 land reform in the Philippines that imposed a ceiling on land holdings, redistributed above-ceiling lands to landless and smallholder households, and severely restricted the transferability of the redistributed farm lands. We study this reform in the context of an industry model of agriculture with a non-degenerate distribution of farm sizes featuring an occupation decision and a technology choice of farm operators. In this model, the land reform can reduce agricultural productivity not only by misallocating resources across farmers but also by distorting farmers' occupation and technology decisions. The model, calibrated to pre-reform farm-level data in the Philippines, implies that on impact the land reform reduces average farm size by 34% and agricultural productivity by 17%. The government assignment of land and the ban on its transfer are key for the magnitude of the results since a market allocation of the above-ceiling land produces about 1/3 of the size and productivity effects. These results emphasize the potential role of land market efficiency for misallocation and productivity in the agricultural sector.
    Keywords: agriculture, productivity, land reform, misallocation, land market, crop choice.
    JEL: O11 O13 O14 O4 O53 Q1 R2 R52
    Date: 2019–04–18
  3. By: Davis, Steven J; Lewis, Nathan S.; Shaner, Matthew; Aggarwal, Sonia; Arent, Doug; Azevedo, Inês; Benson, Sally; Bradley, Thomas; Brouwer, Jack; Chiang, Yet-Ming; Clack, Christopher T.M.; Cohen, Armond; Doig, Stephen; Edmonds, Jae; Fennell, Paul; Field, Christopher B.; Hannegan, Bryan; Hodge, Bri-Mathias; Hoffert, Martin I.; Ingersoll, Eric; Jaramillo, Paulina; Lackner, Klaus S.; Mach, Katharine J.; Mastrandrea, Michael; Ogden, Joan M.; Peterson, Per F.; Sanchez, Daniel L.; Sperling, Daniel; Stagner, Joseph; Trancik, Jessika E.; Yang, Chi-Jen; Caldeira, Ken
    Abstract: Models show that to avert dangerous levels of climate change, global carbon dioxide emissions must fall to zero later this century. Most of these emissions arise from energy use. Davis et al. review what it would take to achieve decarbonization of the energy system. Some parts of the energy system are particularly difficult to decarbonize, including aviation, long-distance transport, steel and cement production, and provision of a reliable electricity supply. Current technologies and pathways show promise, but integration of now-discrete energy sectors and industrial processes is vital to achieve minimal emissions. Net emissions of CO2 by human activities - including not only energy services and industrial production but also land use and agriculture - must approach zero in order to stabilize global mean temperature. Energy services such as light-duty transportation, heating, cooling, and lighting may be relatively straightforward to decarbonize by electrifying and generating electricity from variable renewable energy sources (such as wind and solar) and dispatchable ("on-demand") nonrenewable sources (including nuclear energy and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage). However, other energy services essential to modern civilization entail emissions that are likely to be more difficult to fully eliminate. These difficult-to-decarbonize energy services include aviation, long-distance transport, and shipping; production of carbon-intensive structural materials such as steel and cement; and provision of a reliable electricity supply that meets varying demand. Moreover, demand for such services and products is projected to increase substantially over this century. The long-lived infrastructure built today, for better or worse, will shape the future. Here, we review the special challenges associated with an energy system that does not add any CO2 to the atmosphere (a net-zero emissions energy system). We discuss prominent technological opportunities and barriers for eliminating and/or managing emissions related to the difficult-to-decarbonize services; pitfalls in which near-term actions may make it more difficult or costly to achieve the net-zero emissions goal; and critical areas for research, development, demonstration, and deployment. It may take decades to research, develop, and deploy these new technologies. DOI Link:
    Keywords: Engineering
    Date: 2018–06–29
  4. By: Chrisendo, Daniel; Krishna, Vijesh V.; Siregar, Hermanto; Qaim, Matin
    Abstract: Many tropical countries are experiencing massive land-use change with profound environmental and socioeconomic implications. In Indonesia, oil palm cultivation is rapidly expanding at the expense of more traditional agricultural crops and forest land. While environmental effects of the oil palm boom were analyzed in many studies, much less is known about social effects. Here, we analyze how oil palm cultivation by smallholder farmers influences nutrition through changing income, gender roles, and other possible mechanisms. The analysis uses panel data collected in Jambi Province, Sumatra, one of the hotspots of Indonesia's recent oil palm boom. Regression models show that oil palm cultivation has positive effects on different indicators of nutrition and dietary quality. These effects are primarily channeled through income gains that improve smallholders' access to nutritious foods from the market. Oil palm requires less family labor than traditional crops, so a switch to oil palm could potentially free labor for off-farm economic activities. We find that oil palm cultivation is positively associated with off-farm employment of male but not female household members, which may be related to unequal opportunities. Independent of oil palm cultivation, female off-farm employment has positive nutrition effects, even after controlling for total household income.
    Keywords: oil palm,smallholder livelihoods,gender roles,female empowerment,nutrition,dietary quality
    Date: 2019
  5. By: Fabienne Femenia
    Abstract: Food demand elasticities are crucial parameters in the calibration of simulation models used to assess the impacts of political reforms or to analyse long-term projections, notably in agricultural sectors. Numerous estimates of these parameters are now available in the economic literature. The main objectives of this work are twofold: we seek first to identify general patterns characterizing the demand elasticities of food products and second to identify the main sources of heterogeneity between the elasticity estimates available in the literature. To achieve these objectives, we conduct a broad literature review of food demand elasticity estimates and perform a meta-regression analysis. Our results reveal the important impacts of income levels on income and price elasticities both at the country (gross domestic product-GDP) and household levels: the higher the income is, the lower the level of elasticities. Food demand responses to changes in income and prices appear to follow different patterns depending on the global regions involved apart from any income level consideration. From a methodological viewpoint, the functional forms used to represent food demand are found to significantly affect elasticity estimates. This result sheds light on the importance of the specification of demand functions, and particularly of their flexibility, in simulation models.
    Keywords: elasticities, estimation, food demand, meta-analysis
    JEL: Q11 Q18 D12 C13
    Date: 2019
  6. By: Ngarava, S.; Mushunje, A.; Chaminuka, P.
    Abstract: Although Livestock Development Programmes (LDPs) increase production, their impact on production risk needs consideration, with most impact assessments in literature devoid of this. The objective of the study was to highlight the risk introduced by participating in a LDP and its impact on productivity. A cross-sectional survey of 164 Kaonafatso ya Dikgomo (KyD) programme and 81 non-programme participants from KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Eastern Cape Provinces, South Africa was utilised. Non-probability convenience sampling was used to collect primary data through a structured questionnaire. Propensity Score Matching and Monte Carlo Simulations were utilised to analyse data. The study found that the KyD programme reduces calving risk by 21.7% whilst it doubles the off-take risk. Furthermore, larger herd sizes, access to veterinary services and frequency of extension contact were risk-increasing determinants, whilst access to dipping services was risk-reducing. The study concludes that the KyD programme has significant impact on production risk. The study recommends that to reduce the risks, farmers should be encouraged to commercialise and become part of farmer organizations. The programme should also maintain a farmer-extension-contact of between 2-5 visits per month as well as target farmers within a 30km-90km radius from a market, with herd sizes of between 50-120 cattle. Key words: calving, off-take, risk, impact, Propensity Score Matching, Monte Carlo Simulation. JEL Codes: O220, Q120, Q160, Q180
    Keywords: Livestock Production/Industries
    Date: 2018–09–25
  7. By: Douglas Scott
    Abstract: Evidence is found of two distinct patterns of response to the onset of the recent drought in rural Ethiopia. Agricultural Households with pre-shock cattle holdings of three or more animals effectively used these assets as a buffer against the fall in agricultural income. In contrast, households with smaller herds preserved their current herd size, at the expense of reduced consumption. These results are consistent with the existence of a poverty trap in household cattle holdings, and highlight the stark choices faced by some groups during this period, to either reduce consumption today or potentially undermine productivity in the future.
    Keywords: poverty traps, Ethiopia, drought, asset smoothing
    Date: 2019
  8. By: Azeez, Rasheed Oluwaseyi
    Abstract: Studies have been done on oil price volatility spillover effects on the prices of food in both pre-crisis and post-crisis periods. However, what has been sparingly studied is oil price volatility spillover effects on urban prices of food and rural prices of food. The disparity in the rural-urban spending in Nigeria is an area that can further be explored by evaluating the effects of oil price volatility spillover on prices of food in these areas. This study therefore adopts GARCH (1, 1)-TY model to evaluate the impulse response function and variance decomposition of these effects on prices of food in pre-crisis and post-crisis periods. Findings show that in full sample and post-crisis periods both aggregate price of food (APF) and urban average price of food (APFU) positively respond to oil price shocks while rural average price of food (APFR) responds negatively to oil price shocks. However, the response of the urban average price of food proves to be more significant in the post-crisis periods as it appears relatively most affected in this period by a greater percentage of oil price shocks.
    Keywords: GARCH (1, 1), TY, APF, APFR, APFU, Oil price volatility spillover, Impulse Response Function, Variance Decomposition
    JEL: Q18 Q3 Q31 Q43
    Date: 2018–09
  9. By: Petrick, Martin; Djanibekov, Nodir
    Abstract: After two and a half decades of state-mandated cotton production, the diversification of agriculture and the downsizing of the cotton area have become prominent features of Uzbekistan's current modernization strategy. Given the momentum of agricultural policy reform, this policy brief aims to evaluate the success of farm restructuring so far. Moreover, it asks what policymakers should do next to promote agricultural competitiveness without losing sight of the social consequences of reform. After initial downsizing of the former collective farms and achieving nominal self-sufficiency in grain during the 1990s, the government has struggled to find a new model for its farming sector. In January 2019, the government initiated a new wave of farm consolidation. Rather than targeting at a particular type or size of farm organization, policymakers are recommended to focus instead on ensuring that all farmers receive undistorted market signals and have access to an optimal set of supporting public services. Stepwise liberalization of output and factor markets will contribute to this goal, and it needs to be complemented by better tailored public services to Uzbekistan's heterogeneous farming sector to lead to a successful agricultural transformation. The latter is especially important for household producers who will likely appreciate better non-farm income opportunities generated by reforms that go beyond the agricultural sector.
    Date: 2019
  10. By: Kvartiuk, Vasyl; Herzfeld, Thomas
    Abstract: [Introduction] When Ukraine adopted the 2002 Land Code, it chose to follow a liberal path of agricultural land relations, but failed to create the necessary conditions for the land market to function fully. The moratorium on land sales, implemented directly after the adoption of the Land Code, prohibited 6.92 million owners of land shares (16 % of the population) from fully exercising their property rights. Initially intended as a temporary measure, the moratorium has, to date, been extended eight times. As such, many landowners have passed away without ever being able to fully exercise their property rights. Economic losses caused by the prohibition of land sales are considerable. First, inability to transfer land from less to more efficient producers contributes to a situation where tenancy insecurity substantially reduces incentives to invest in technologies improving land use productivity. As a result, growth of the agricultural sector is substantially lower than it could have been with a free land market. Second, current management of land lease contracts incurs high transaction costs, which could be lowered if land users were able to buy plots. Third, one quarter of Ukrainian agricultural land is still owned by the government. Privatization of 10.5 million ha could generate substantial financial resources for newly reformed local governments. In addition, land sales market has a potential to expand respective tax base and improve the collection of land tax. Resources from privatization and improved tax revenues could substantially help restore the dilapidated rural infrastructure. In sum, due to gains in agricultural production and land privatization, Ukrainian experts estimate that liberalization could lead to a 3-9 % increase in the annual growth rate of the GDP.
    Keywords: Land Economics/Use
    Date: 2019
  11. By: Romero, Miriam; Wollni, Meike; Rudolf, Katrin; Asnawi, Rosyani; Irawan, Bambang
    Abstract: This study evaluates the effects of two environmental policy instruments on the adoption of native tree planting in oil palm plantations. The first instrument is an information campaign on tree planting in oil palm. The second instrument combines the information campaign with a structural intervention that provides native tree seedlings for free. We implemented a randomized controlled trial in oil palm growing villages in Jambi, Indonesia. Our study addresses the underlying mechanisms of behavioral change, by investigating how the policy instruments shape farmers' perceptions, intentions and actual adoption decisions. The results show that information campaigns and structural interventions can motivate tree planting among smallholder oil palm farmers in Indonesia. While both treatments have a positive and significant effect, the intervention combining information with seedling provision leads to significantly higher adoption rates, indicating that overcoming structural barriers is critical. While changes in perceptions and intentions fully mediate the effect of the information campaign on adoption, they can only partially explain the effect of the combined intervention. Thus, to promote a transition towards more sustainable development pathways, facilitating easy access to critical inputs may be key to motivate adoption among large numbers of potential users.
    Keywords: tree-planting,oil palm,intentions,mediation,Asia
    Date: 2019
  12. By: Rumman Khan; Oliver Morrissey
    Abstract: We use six waves of national household surveys in Uganda, from 1992/3 to 2012/13, to study income diversification by households for a period of two decades during which the country saw sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. The income sources are agriculture (farming), agricultural wage, self-employment (informal), wage employment and remittances. We present estimates based on data from the individual surveys pooled and then, to capture dynamics and go some way towards addressing endogeneity, we provide estimates from a pseudo-panel. We find that households with more diversified income sources tend to lower consumption welfare, indicating diversification has mainly been due to push factors (the need for income pushing people into low earning activities). This is because much of the diversification has been into the agricultural wage sector, particularly amongst the poorest households who have also experienced reductions in remittances. Welfare (in terms of adult equivalent expenditure) is higher for households engaged in the non-agricultural wage sector, but growth in wage employment has been very low. This is one of the first studies to look at household welfare and income diversification at the national level (rural and urban) over such an extended period of time.
    Keywords: Income diversification, Household welfare, Uganda
    Date: 2019
  13. By: Bosch, Martí; Chenal, Jérôme; Joost, Stéphane
    Abstract: Urban sprawl is nowadays a pervasive topic that is subject of a contentious debate among planners and researchers, who still fail to reach consensual solutions. This paper reviews controversies of the sprawl debate and argues that they owe to a failure of the employed methods to appraise its complexity, especially the notion that urban form emerges from multiple overlapping interactions between households, firms and governmental bodies. To address such issues, this review focuses on recent approaches to study urban spatial dynamics. Firstly, spatial metrics from landscape ecology provide means of quantifying urban sprawl in terms of increasing fragmentation and diversity of land use patches. Secondly, cellular automata and agent-based models suggest that the prevalence of urban sprawl and fragmentation at the urban fringe emerge from negative spatial interaction between residential agents, which seem accentuated as the agent’s preferences become more heterogeneous. Then, the review turns to practical applications that employ such models to spatially inform urban planning and assess future scenarios. A concluding discussion summarizes potential contributions to the debate on urban sprawl as well as some epistemological implications.
    Keywords: urban sprawl; complexity; land use change; landscape metrics; spatial pattern; fractals; cellular automata; agent-based models; urban planning
    JEL: C63 O18 R11 R14 R20 R30 R40 R52
    Date: 2019–04–24
  14. By: Endler, Malte Johannes; Wolf, André
    Abstract: The main purpose of this article is to provide an introduction to the methodological approach and current insights of the ELCA literature related to plastic from the point of view of a non-technician. Concerning potential remedies, we set our focus on the question to what extent the use of biomass as an alternative feestock in plastic production can contribute to a reduction of the environmental burden.
    Date: 2019
  15. By: Sciara, Gian-Claudia; Strand, Sarah
    Abstract: An unprecedented effort to improve regional coordination and land use governance has been underway in California since 2008, when the state passed the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (Senate Bill 375). The law complements earlier state policy (Assembly Bill 32) to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions across an array of sectors. SB 375 specifically encourages regional land use planning that, when coupled with supportive transportation investments, would help to reduce automobile dependent patterns of land use and sprawl. Implementation of these new regional land use visions and the GHG reductions they promise depend largely on local government land use and development actions. This report explores the responses of California cities and counties to this experiment in order to understand what may make local governments more or less likely to collaborate with regionally oriented policies. It reports on a survey of California local governments administered in early 2017 and explores two main questions: (1) to what extent are California local governments adopting local land use policy and development decisions that reflect the MPO’s regional land use vision, and (2) what factors make some local governments more likely to cooperate with regional land use visions, and what factors make others less likely to do so?
    Keywords: Engineering
    Date: 2017–08–01
  16. By: Harvey, John T.; Kendall, Alissa; Saboori, Arash; Ostovar, Maryam; Butt, Ali A.; Hernandez, Jesus; Haynes, Bruce
    Abstract: A multitude of goals have been stated for complete streets including non-motorized travel safety, reduced costs and environmental burdens, and creation of more livable communities, or in other words, the creation of livable, sustainable and economically vibrant communities. A number of performance measures have been proposed to address these goals. Environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) quantifies the energy, resource use, and emissions to air, water and land for a product or a system using a systems approach. One gap that has been identified in current LCA impact indicators is lack of socio-economic indicators to complement the existing environmental indicators. To address the gaps in performance metrics, this project developed a framework for LCA of complete streets projects, including the development of socio-economic impact indicators that also consider equity. The environmental impacts of complete streets were evaluated using LCA information for a range of complete street typologies. A parametric sensitivity analysis approach was performed to evaluate the impacts of different levels of mode choice and trip change. Another critical question addressed was what are different social goals (economic, health, safety, etc.) that should be considered and how to consider equity in performance metrics for social goals. This project lays the foundation for the creation of guidelines for social and environmental LCAs for complete streets. View the NCST Project Webpage
    Keywords: Engineering, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Complete streets, life cycle assessment, equity, social goals, environmental impacts
    Date: 2018–12–01
  17. By: Miller, Marshall; Raju, Arun S.K.; Roy, Partho Sarothi
    Abstract: An evaluation of renewable hydrogen production technologies anticipated to be available in the short, mid- and long-term timeframes was conducted. Renewable conversion pathways often rely on a combination of renewable and fossil energy sources, with the primary conversion step relying on a completely renewable source and the auxiliary steps using a more readily available energy mix such as grid electricity. The conversion technologies can be broadly classified into four categories based on the primary conversion mechanism: thermal processes, electrolytic processes, photolytic processes, and biochemical processes. Based on anticipated technology readiness, water electrolysis and biogas reforming pathways will be available in the near term whereas biomass gasification and bio-derived liquids reforming pathways are expected to be available in the mid-term. Photolytic and dark fermentation approaches are still in the research stage and must go through significant development and demonstration.
    Keywords: Engineering
    Date: 2017–10–01
  18. By: Avinash Gupta (South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment)
    Abstract: The essay evidences that while the dominant narrative on mechanization is essentially about large farms, capital intensive equipment and canal irrigation system, a less-highlighted, "heterodox" strand in scholarship provides evidence that there are major differences in the way countries like India and Bangladesh have progressed in mechanization. Although there are overlaps in the two strategies, the paper argues that recognizing the differences has scholarship and policy significance for Nepal and for the rest of the region if an effective mechanization strategy is to be devised. The paper observes that if India’s mechanization is largely explained by the dominant approach, made feasible by its fiscal, institutional and industrial capacity, Bangladesh’s mechanization is based on small, inexpensive and multipurpose equipment. Indeed, Bangladesh achieving significant mechanization despite sustained land fragmentation has especial salience for Nepal. In Nepal, like Bangladesh, smallholders form the bulk of farmer households while fragmentation is on the rise. Moreover, rapid emigration to foreign lands for work has created labour shortages on the farm while, owing to the agriculture sector stagnation and remittance-driven credibly rising consumption capabilities, imports of agricultural goods are soaring. Credible policy support in mechanization is identified as having contributed to Bangladesh’s success. While much of the agriculture mechanization scholarship on Nepal finds that mechanization is low and confined to specific geography such as the Tarai plains, the paper contends, drawing out of some estimation efforts from a less-discussed strand of the literature, that the prevailing narrative may be simplistic, if not erroneous. The argument is that the analytical frame used in much of the existing scholarship is narrow as it does not consider small equipment largely because of ideological and political reasons; indeed, much of the existing knowledge is based on the dominant paradigm. The essay contendsthat, inter alia, this potentially preventsformation of a credible picture which can then be exercised in devising policy interventions for increasing mechanization; considered a potent tool to shore up stagnant agricultural productivity. Upon broadening the analytical frame, i.e., inclusion of small equipment, there is suggestive evidence (quantitative estimates in, for instance, some case- studies) to indicate that rural mechanization, driven by inexpensive small equipment, may well be occurring in Nepal; including in the hills and mountains, areas considered poorly mechanized in the existing literature. Interestingly, much of even the dominant paradigm literature does make some passing references to small equipment-drive mechanization and that this has resulted in efficient agronomic practices in certain pockets. The article contends that to devise a suitable mechanization strategy, there is need for more research on this dimension of farm mechanization, beginning with a credible analysis of rural capital goods that does not equate mechanization with the use of large equipment.
    Keywords: Mechanization dynamics in Nepal, Current understanding and potential knowledge gaps
    Date: 2018–12
  19. By: Lawell, Cynthia Lin; Yi, Fujin; Thome, Karen E
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effects of government subsidies and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on the U.S. ethanol industry. The authors first develop a stylized theory model of subsidies in which they examine which types of subsidies are more cost-effective for inducing investment in firm capacity, and how the presence of a mandate affects the relative cost-effectiveness of different types of subsidies. The authors then empirically analyze how government subsidies and the Renewable Fuel Standard affect ethanol production, investment, entry, and exit by estimating a structural econometric model of a dynamic game that enables us to recover the entire cost structure of the industry, including the distributions of investment costs, entry costs, and exit scrap values. The authors use the estimated parameters to evaluate three different types of subsidy: a production subsidy, an investment subsidy, and an entry subsidy, each with and without the RFS. While conventional wisdom and some of the previous literature favor production subsidies over investment subsidies, and while historically the federal government has used production subsidies to support ethanol, our results show that, for the ethanol industry, investment subsidies and entry subsidies are more cost-effective than production subsidies for inducing investment that otherwise would not have occurred.
    Keywords: Engineering
    Date: 2017–11–01
  20. By: Sanguinetti, Angela
    Abstract: Driver behavior has an immense impact on vehicle fuel economy and emissions, yet it has historically been treated as random error in models of fuel economy and neglected in energy and environmental policy-making regarding fuel efficiency. Recently, concern about fossil fuel depletion and climate change, as well as the critical role of driver behavior in achieving the fuel economy benefits of new hybrid and electric vehicles, has created interest in eco-driving. Eco-driving refers to suites of behavior a driver can engage in to improve fuel economy. The most common strategy used to promote eco-driving is feedback that conveys information about fuel efficiency to the driver. Feedback is typically visual and provided on-board the vehicle via digital screens (dash or instrument cluster displays, after-market devices, or web apps on personal smartphones or tablets). No policies exist requiring manufacturers to provide eco-driving feedback, yet feedback systems of increasing variety are appearing in vehicles, likely due to advances in telematics and decreasing costs of new technologies. The rapidly increasing prevalence and complexity of in-vehicle information systems, along with concern for driver distraction, suggest standardization of eco-driving feedback may be warranted in the near future. Thus, there is a need to understand what types of eco-driving feedback are effective. This white paper presents a statistical meta-analysis of eco-driving feedback studies in order to determine a pooled estimate of the impact on fuel economy and explore how characteristics of feedback interventions influence their impact. It provides the most accurate estimate to-date of the average impact of in-vehicle feedback on fuel economy and summarizes the current state of knowledge regarding characteristics of eco-driving feedback interventions that determine effectiveness. View the NCST Project Webpage
    Keywords: Social and Behavioral Sciences, eco-driving, eco-feedback, in-vehicle display, onboard feedback, meta-analysis, review
    Date: 2018–09–01
  21. By: Lau Banh, Megan; Foina, Aislan; Li, Dachuan; Lin, Yeshun; Nerona Redondo, Xavier Aloysius; Shong, Charlene; Zhang, Wei-Bin
    Keywords: Engineering
    Date: 2018–05–17
  22. By: Lagoudakis, Angelos; Behe, Bridget; Malone, Trey
    Abstract: While many studies have focused on consumer preferences for specialty crops, few have focused on tart cherries. This article uses data collected from 134 Michigan tart cherry consumers to identify potential market segments through consumers’ consumption frequency of fresh Balaton tart cherries. We use k-means cluster analysis to describe Balaton tart cherry market segments. Our analysis suggests that fresh and frozen tart cherry consumers do not commonly overlap and that fresh Balaton consumers are generally unique relative to other tart cherry consumers. Overall, this article provides a first step toward understanding consumer demographics for tart cherries.
    Keywords: Consumer/Household Economics, Marketing
    Date: 2019–04–16
  23. By: Raju, Arun; Roy, Partho S
    Abstract: Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) is an important alternative fuel that can help the State of California meet several GHG and renewable energy targets. Despite considerable potential, current RNG use on national and state levels are not significant. As part of this grant, the University of California, Riverside (UCR) has established a research center dedicated to the development of technologies that will enable RNG production and use in substantial quantities in California and elsewhere. The new center, referred to as the Center for Renewable Natural Gas (CRNG), leverages on-going research and collaborations at the Bourns College of Engineering – Center for Environmental Research & Technology (CE-CERT) at UCR to maximize the impact. RNG production potential in California through thermochemical conversion was evaluated as part of this project by assessing technical biomass availability in the state. Biomass feedstocks are defined broadly and include most carbonaceous matter including waste. The types of waste biomass available in the state are classified into three categories: municipal solid waste (MSW), agricultural residue and forest residue. A total of 32.1 million metric tonnes per year (MMT/year) of biomass is estimated to be technically available in the state. The energy content of this biomass is equivalent to approximately 602.4 million mmbtu/year. A survey of current renewable electricity generation and curtailment trends in California was conducted. Real-time data show significant curtailment throughout the year totaling approximately 440 GWh over a twelve month period from November 2016 to October 2017. Power to gas and other forms of long term storage integrated into the electric grid can mitigate these losses and enable smooth integration of additional renewables into the grid. Oxygen/air blown gasification, hydrogasification and pyrolysis are the three major technology options available for thermochemical biomass conversion to a gaseous fuel, including RNG. A literature survey of available thermochemical conversion technologies was conducted. Although there are no commercial thermochemical biomass to RNG conversion facilities in operation, a number of gasification and pyrolysis technologies are undergoing pilot scale demonstration and development. Design basis for two thermochemical and power to gas conversion projects were developed as part of this project. Significant research, development, and deployment efforts are necessary to achieve successful commercialization of thermochemical RNG production. Outreach and education activities including a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Center for Renewable Natural Gas and an RNG themed symposium were also conducted as part of the project. View the NCST Project Webpage
    Keywords: Engineering, Biomass fuels, Electric power transmission, Energy storage systems, Natural gas, Natural gas distribution systems, Renewable energy sources, Thermal power generation
    Date: 2018–09–01
  24. By: Cornel Joseph; Vincent Leyaro
    Abstract: This paper investigates the gender differential effect of technical and vocational educational and training (TVET) in Tanzania using data from the 2014 Integrated Labour Force Survey (ILFS). The multinomial logit model results for employment mobility show that TVET training significantly improves male and female chances of entering into formal employment while reducing their probability of being in informal work, agriculture or unemployed. The effects are much higher for females relative to males for almost all categories of education and training. The results show that although TVET training, and general education, increase male and female earnings significantly, the returns to TVET and general education are substantially higher for females. The decomposed gender earnings gap using Oaxaca and Blinder (1973) method reveals a significant gender earning gap in Tanzania, where males tends to earn significantly higher income (by 58 per cent on average) than females. As TVET and general education increase the probability of females to be in the formal employment more than for males, investing in girls skills training and education helps address the challenge of rising youth unemployment and increasing formal employment. Furthermore, as returns to TVET and general education are higher females, investing in girls’ skills training and education will help address gender earnings inequality
    Keywords: gender, employment, returns to education, TVET, Tanzania
    Date: 2019
  25. By: Götte, Lorenz; Stutzer, Alois
    Abstract: There is a longstanding concern that material incentives might undermine pro-social motivation, leading to a decrease in blood donations rather than an increase. This paper provides an empirical test of how material incentives affect blood donations in a large-scale field experiment spanning three months and involving more than 10,000 previous donors. We examine two types of rewards: a lottery ticket and a free cholesterol test. Lottery tickets significantly increase donations during the experiment, in particular among less motivated donors. Moreover, no reduction in donations is observed after the experiment. The free cholesterol test leads to no discernable impact on blood donations during and after the experiment.
    Keywords: blood donations; field experiment; material incentives; motivation crowding effect; pro-social behavior
    JEL: C93 D64 H41 I18
    Date: 2019–04
  26. By: Suzi Kerr (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research); Steffen Lippert (University of Auckland); Edmund Lou (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)
    Abstract: We investigate the impact of side-payments to countries that have a low net benefit from participating in efficient climate cooperation in a repeated games framework with investment in different technologies. We consider different timings of these payments and different degrees of commitment. If countries cannot commit ex ante to transfer funds to low-benefit participants to an agreement, then there is a trade-off. Investment based agreements, where transfers occur before emissions are realized, but after investments have been committed, maximize the scope of cooperation. Results-based agreements minimize transfers whenever these agreements implement cooperation. If countries can commit to transfer funds, then agreements in which countries with high benefits of climate cooperation pre-commit to results-based payments to countries with low benefits both maximize the scope of cooperation and minimize transfers.
    Keywords: Game theory, cooperation, repeated games, climate change, international agreement
    JEL: Q54 Q56 Q58 F55 F53
    Date: 2019–03

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.