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The Economic Impacts of Climate Change: Evidence from Agricultural Output and Random Fluctuations in Weather

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  • Deschenes, Olivier
  • Greenstone, Michael

Abstract

This paper measures the economic impact of climate change on US agricultural land by estimating the effect of the presumably random year-to-year variation in temperature and precipitation on agricultural profits. Using long-run climate change predictions from the Hadley 2 Model, the preferred estimates indicate that climate change will lead to a $1.1 billion (2002$) or 3.4% increase in annual profits. The 95% confidence interval ranges from -$1.8 billion to $4.0 billion and the impact is robust to a wide variety of specification checks, so large negative or positive effects are unlikely. There is considerable heterogeneity in the effect across the country with California's predicted impact equal to -$2.4 billion (or nearly 50% of state agricultural profits). Further, the analysis indicates that the predicted increases in temperature and precipitation will have virtually no effect on yields among the most important crops. These crop yield findings suggest that the small effect on profits is not due to short-run price increases. The paper also implements the hedonic approach that is predominant in the previous literature. We conclude that this approach may be unreliable, because it produces estimates of the effect of climate change that are very sensitive to seemingly minor decisions about the appropriate control variables, sample and weighting. Overall, the findings contradict the popular view that climate change will have substantial negative welfare consequences for the US agricultural sector.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Regulation2point0 in its series Working paper with number 291.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
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Handle: RePEc:reg:wpaper:291

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  1. Ekeland, Ivar & Heckman, James J. & Nesheim, Lars, 2003. "Identification and Estimation of Hedonic Models," IZA Discussion Papers 853, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Kirwan, Barrett E., 2008. "The Incidence of U.S. Agricultural Subsidies on Farmland Rental Rates," Working Papers 42714, University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  3. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2005. "Does Air Quality Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 376-424, April.
  4. Sandra E. Black, 1997. "Do better schools matter? Parental valuation of elementary education," Research Paper 9729, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  5. Wolfram Schlenker & W. Michael Hanemann & Anthony C. Fisher, 2005. "Will U.S. Agriculture Really Benefit from Global Warming? Accounting for Irrigation in the Hedonic Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 395-406, March.
  6. Kelly, David L. & Kolstad, Charles D. & Mitchell, Glenn T., 2005. "Adjustment costs from environmental change," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 468-495, November.
  7. Wolfram Schlenker & W. Michael Hanemann & Anthony C. Fisher, 2006. "The Impact of Global Warming on U.S. Agriculture: An Econometric Analysis of Optimal Growing Conditions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 113-125, February.
  8. Mendelsohn, Robert & Nordhaus, William D & Shaw, Daigee, 1994. "The Impact of Global Warming on Agriculture: A Ricardian Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 753-71, September.
  9. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
  10. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
  11. Dan A. Black & Thomas K. Kniesner, 2003. "On the Measurement of Job Risk in Hedonic Wage Models," NCEE Working Paper Series 200306, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Aug 2003.
  12. repec:reg:rpubli:134 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Mundlak, Yair, 2001. "Production and supply," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-85 Elsevier.
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