IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The economics of cropland conversion in Amazonia: The importance of agricultural rent


  • Mann, Michael L.
  • Kaufmann, Robert K.
  • Bauer, Dana
  • Gopal, Sucharita
  • Vera-Diaz, Maria Del Carmen
  • Nepstad, Daniel
  • Merry, Frank
  • Kallay, Jennifer
  • Amacher, Gregory S.


We use spatially efficient logit models to explore the role of economic incentives on the expansion of cropland in the Mato Grosso region between 2001 and 2004. An empirical measure for agricultural economic rent is used to quantify the desirability of a particular plot of land, which previous research proxies with variables such as distance to roads or urban areas, and simple climatic and edaphic variables. Results indicate that the measure for economic rent provides additional information and explanatory power to one of the most commonly used proxies, distance to roads. As predicted by economic theory, it is not simply access or variation in transportation costs that drives the spatial determinants of agricultural expansion, but the expected total returns from the venture. This suggests that spatially explicit rent models can be used to simulate the location and quantity of land-use change in an economically consistent framework. Such a framework lays the foundation for an enhanced methodology that can evaluate the ability of fiscal policy levers to influence the location of agricultural conversion with the ultimate aim of balancing economic and environmental goals.

Suggested Citation

  • Mann, Michael L. & Kaufmann, Robert K. & Bauer, Dana & Gopal, Sucharita & Vera-Diaz, Maria Del Carmen & Nepstad, Daniel & Merry, Frank & Kallay, Jennifer & Amacher, Gregory S., 2010. "The economics of cropland conversion in Amazonia: The importance of agricultural rent," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(7), pages 1503-1509, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2010:i:7:p:1503-1509

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Vera-Diaz, Maria del Carmen & Kaufmann, Robert K. & Nepstad, Daniel C. & Schlesinger, Peter, 2008. "An interdisciplinary model of soybean yield in the Amazon Basin: The climatic, edaphic, and economic determinants," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 420-431, April.
    2. Chomitz, Kenneth M & Gray, David A, 1996. "Roads, Land Use, and Deforestation: A Spatial Model Applied to Belize," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 487-512, September.
    3. Conley, Timothy G. & Molinari, Francesca, 2007. "Spatial correlation robust inference with errors in location or distance," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 76-96, September.
    4. Alexander Pfaff & Juan Robalino & Robert Walker & Steven Aldrich & Marcellus Caldas & Eustaquio Reis & Stephen Perz & Claudio Bohrer & Eugenio Arima & William Laurance & Kathryn Kirby, 2007. "Road Investments, Spatial Spillovers, And Deforestation In The Brazilian Amazon," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 109-123.
    5. repec:eee:ecomod:v:209:y:2007:i:2:p:169-188 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
    7. David R. Oglethorpe, 1995. "Sensitivity Of Farm Plans Under Risk-Averse Behaviour: A Note On The Environmental Implications," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 227-232.
    8. Kenneth M. Chomitz & Timothy S. Thomas, 2003. "Determinants of Land Use in Amazônia: A Fine-Scale Spatial Analysis," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(4), pages 1016-1028.
    9. Robert K. Kaufmann & Seth E. Snell, 1997. "A Biophysical Model of Corn Yield: Integrating Climatic and Social Determinants," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(1), pages 178-190.
    10. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
    11. Pfaff, Alexander S. P., 1999. "What Drives Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon?: Evidence from Satellite and Socioeconomic Data," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 26-43, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Stibniati Atmadja & Louis Verchot, 2012. "A review of the state of research, policies and strategies in addressing leakage from reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+)," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 311-336, March.
    2. repec:eee:ecolec:v:144:y:2018:i:c:p:278-291 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Yagi, Hironori, 2012. "Farm size and Distance-to-Field in Scattered Rice Field Areas:with Integration of Plot and Farm Data," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 125390, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Michael Mann & Robert Kaufmann & Dana Bauer & Sucharita Gopal & James Baldwin & Maria Del Carmen Vera-Diaz, 2012. "Ecosystem Service Value and Agricultural Conversion in the Amazon: Implications for Policy Intervention," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 53(2), pages 279-295, October.
    5. Edward Barbier & John Bugas, 2014. "Structural change, marginal land and economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean," Latin American Economic Review, Springer;Centro de Investigaciòn y Docencia Económica (CIDE), vol. 23(1), pages 1-29, December.
    6. Mann, Michael L. & Kaufmann, Robert K. & Bauer, Dana Marie & Gopal, Sucharita & Nomack, Mallory & Womack, Jesse Y. & Sullivan, Kerry & Soares-Filho, Britaldo S., 2014. "Pasture conversion and competitive cattle rents in the Amazon," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 182-190.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2010:i:7:p:1503-1509. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.