American Journal of Agricultural Economics

Published by Oxford University Press (OUP)
Online ISSN: 1467-8276
Print ISSN: 0002-9092
Economists have devoted considerable attention to studying the impacts of structural adjustment programs (SAPs) on agriculutre. However, they have paid much less atttention to the potential differential effects of such programs on women farmers who play a large and significant role in agriculture in the developing countries. Donor agencies have generally assumed that economic policies, especially price policies, which are the basis of SAPs, are gender neutral in their impacts. This assumption is increasingly being questioned as the evidence mounts that policies can have very different impacts on women farmers. -Author
This article presents a statistical model of agricultural yield data based on a set of hierarchical Bayesian models that allows joint modeling of temporal and spatial autocorrelation. This method captures a comprehensive range of the various uncertainties involved in predicting crop insurance premium rates as opposed to the more traditional ad hoc, two-stage methods that are typically based on independent estimation and prediction. A panel data set of county-average yield data was analyzed for 290 counties in the State of Paraná (Brazil) for the period of 1990 through 2002. Posterior predictive criteria are used to evaluate different model specifications. This article provides substantial improvements in the statistical and actuarial methods often applied to the calculation of insurance premium rates. These improvements are especially relevant to situations where data are limited.
This study tests the hypothesis that fertility is affected differently by economic growth depending upon the specific sector (agriculture, manufacturing, heavy industry, and services) where growth occurred. The hypothesis is that fertility responses are not identical across sectors. The sample includes 51 World Bank member countries in varying stages of development. The econometric model pertains to 1965-88 and the percentage change in the total fertility rate (TFR). During the study period the average TFR declined by over 22%, but the extent of change varied by country and included, for instance, countries such as Ethiopia that experienced fertility increases from 5.8 to 6.5. Hong Kong's TFR declined by 66% from 4.7 to 1.6. Analysis included measures of changes in gross domestic product (GDP) for each of the four sectors and change in real per capita exports in agricultural commodities, resources, and manufactured products. Changes in educational status and changes in infant mortality were also included in some models. There were mixed results for the impact of total GDP. Sectoral analysis shows a positive, small significant impact on TFR from changes in the GDP per capita in agriculture (domestic and export products), and a negative, small significant impact from manufacturing growth. Heavy industry and services produced insignificant impact. In the model with only domestic consumption, results show a stronger coefficient and continued significance for agricultural productivity, agricultural exports, and manufacturing changes per capita. Manufacturing exports produced a negative, insignificant impact. The null hypothesis is rejected only in models comparing aggregate GDP in agriculture and manufacturing industries plus control variables (excluding heavy industry and services). Only secondary education was a negative, significant determinant of fertility. Infant mortality was insignificant when sectoral growth and education were included in the model. The evidence supports the thesis that growth depending on the sector leads to fertility decline, and economic growth has a negative effect on fertility if employment opportunities for women are improved.
The obesity epidemic and excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages have led to proposals of economics-based interventions to promote healthy eating in the United States. Targeted food and beverage taxes and subsidies are prominent examples of such potential intervention strategies. This paper examines the differential effects of taxing sugar-sweetened beverages by calories and by ounces on beverage demand. To properly measure the extent of substitution and complementarity between beverage products, we developed a fully modified distance metric model of differentiated product demand that endogenizes the cross-price effects. We illustrated the proposed methodology in a linear approximate almost ideal demand system, although other flexible demand systems can also be used. In the empirical application using supermarket scanner data, the product-level demand model consists of 178 beverage products with combined market share of over 90%. The novel demand model outperformed the conventional distance metric model in non-nested model comparison tests and in terms of the economic significance of model predictions. In the fully modified model, a calorie-based beverage tax was estimated to cost $1.40 less in compensating variation than an ounce-based tax per 3,500 beverage calories reduced. This difference in welfare cost estimates between two tax strategies is more than three times as much as the difference estimated by the conventional distance metric model. If applied to products purchased from all sources, a 0.04-cent per kcal tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is predicted to reduce annual per capita beverage intake by 5,800 kcal.
Psychic costs reflect differences in interregional utility, an important determinant of population among regions. Following Sjaastad's definition of psychic costs, the consumer surplus foregone by Appalachian migrants in two urban areas was measured as the difference between current urban income and an acceptable income level in eastern Kentucky. Psychic costs varied significantly with the size of the city of destination; migrants' demographic characteristics; and their satisfaction with jobs, city services, and interpersonal relationships in the city. Mobility which reduces psychic costs contributes to social well-being but will not be measured in national economic accounts.
The focus is on the relation between household income, food intake, and nutritional status in less developed countries. This article presents a framework which relates explicitly household behavior patterns with the public policy options designed to improve the nutritional status of the poor in rural and urban households. -Authors
Ejidos are communal holding groups of redistributed land expropriated (generally without compensation) from large private landowners during Mexicos post-1910 land reform. The model in this study of the "ejidal" systems influence on fertility differs from DeVany and Sanchez in providing more current data and including the following more detailed variables: the land area of ejidos and the number of ejidos the need for children male income female income share and social security coverage. The data pertains to states rather than municipalities. DeVany and Sanchez found that the ejidal system encouraged fertility because having more children helped an ejido family retain land rights increased its chances of gaining additional productive land and gave it increased political power. Children also provided a means of intergenerational transfer of resources. The estimation results of this study revealed that the total proportion of land held as ejidos had a positive significant effect on fertility. The ratio of ejidos to total number of farms was negative and significant. There was support for the hypothesis that the impact of ejidos land holdings and area was diminished when ejidos were dominant in the state. Fertility declined with the increase in unpaid workers per hectare of land. Elasticity functions were small: 0.075 on ejidal land -0.222 on ejidal farms and -0.045 on workers. A positive significant demographic effect on fertility was illiteracy. Infant mortality and female income share each had a negative significant effect on fertility. Insignificant variables were male income social security coverage and the dummy for northern states. There have been changes in the Mexican ejidal system. These changes and the availability of farm labor are expected to reduce urban and rural fertility differentials.
The author analyzes the relationship between population and the environment, with a focus on "the role which environmental degradation and natural resources depletion may play in producing the...population pressure which lies behind such degradation and depletion especially in developing countries.... The principal conclusion of this analysis is that the possibilities for a stable equilibrium between human population and its environment are quite limited....I show that parental altruism toward their children can only make matters worse, if socially unchecked, by leading to an increase of the birthrate in every environmental state in comparison with that which would occur in its absence."
An analysis of the impact of migration to the United States on the sending community and on the labor market in the receiving country is presented based on a case study of Las Animas, Mexico. "As the community becomes increasingly involved in migration, tendencies can be identified regarding changing migration patterns, class differentiation among villagers, impact of migration on village economy, and the changing role of Mexican workers in California labor markets. Results indicate the importance of social networks in determining the outcome of migration; while migration is individually rational, it is a factor of stagnation for village economy, and it helps reproduce segmented California labor markets."
The available evidence clearly shows that Americans prefer, to live in more rural locations than where they presently live. The imposition of severe income and commuting contraints diminishes, but by no means eliminates, interest in rural living. Other research indicates rural preferences have been increasing during the past decade and that people who want to live in rural places are looking for community features that are likely to be found there; and, recent migrants from metro to nonmetro counties are more likely to state environmental reasons than job-related reasons for having moved to their new location. The strongest evidence that residential preferences are contributing to the turnaround is the striking consistency among the results from all studies. -from Author
Differences in Cost of Illness Methods: United States and Scotland
This paper explores methodological and demographical reasons for differences in estimated social costs from foodborne Escherichia coli O157:H7 between the United States and United Kingdom (UK). Depending on the evaluation method, estimated U.S. costs average $10,000-17,000/case while estimated costs for the largest reported UK milk-borne outbreak are $280,000/case.
Survey results of departments of agricultural economics at 1862 Land Grant institutions are reported, giving the numbers of economists working in the areas of agricultural, resource, and community economics. Factor analysis is used to reduce descriptive state-level data in order to explain departmental compositions through regression analysis. Department heads also responded with the area to which a new, free position would be allocated. These responses are compared with residuals from the statistical models to evaluate department head allocation strategies.
An error correction model (ECM) of induced innovation, based on the two-stage CES production function allows direct tests of the inducement hypothesis, which are applied to U.S. data for 1880–1990. The time series properties of the variables include a structural break in 1920, cointegration is established and an ECM constructed, which allows factor substitution to be separated from technological change. Causality tests show that the factor-price ratios and R&D are Granger-prior to the factor-saving biases of technological change. The inducement hypothesis is corroborated, and identified as one factor in the complex development of U.S. agriculture.
The goal of this study is to understand and measure the effect of differential rates of technical change in the agricultural and nonagricultural sector on per capita income growth and sectoral allocation of income and factors of production. A fairly simple dynamic general equilibrium model with an agricultural and nonagricultural sector was constructed along neoclassical lines (but including labor market imperfections) and applied to Japanese data from 1880 to 1965. Nonagricultural technical change contributed more to per capita income growth than agricultural technical change. The latter also tends to push resources, particularly labor, out of the agricultural sector.
Top-cited authors
Jayson Lusk
  • Purdue University
Christopher B. Barrett
  • Cornell University
Barry Goodwin
  • North Carolina State University
John Andrew Fox
  • Kansas State University
C. Peter Timmer
  • Harvard University, emeritus