IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

What Does Climate Change Mean for Agriculture in Developing Countries? A Comment on Mendelsohn and Dinar


  • Reilly, John


Mendelsohn and Dinar review much of the important work on the implications of climate change for agriculture, focusing particularly on developing countries. Their message is that efficient economic adaptation significantly reduces the estimated effects of climate change. Few dispute that some amount of adaptation is likely and that its potential contribution to reducing the negative impacts of global warming is large. One such study (Darwin and others 1995), which analyzed the global impacts using an ecozone (land class) methodology, found that without adaptation, average cereal production yields fell roughly 20 to 30 percent in four different climate scenarios. Through various channels of adaptation (modifying crops and techniques on existing farmland, shifting crops to new land, and responding to changing market prices), these losses were reversed, resulting in small increases in production worldwide (0 to 1 percent) even before considering the positive effects of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) fertilization (table 1). Striking, however, are both the initial shock in cereal production in the study reported in table 1 and the range of impacts on yields (without adaptation) estimated by a variety of studies for different sites around the world (shown in table 2).

Suggested Citation

  • Reilly, John, 1999. "What Does Climate Change Mean for Agriculture in Developing Countries? A Comment on Mendelsohn and Dinar," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(2), pages 295-305, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:14:y:1999:i:2:p:295-305

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Darwin, Roy & Tsigas, Marinos E. & Lewandrowski, Jan & Raneses, Anton, 1995. "World Agriculture and Climate Change: Economic Adaptations," Agricultural Economics Reports 33933, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    2. John Reilly, 1995. "Climate Change and Global Agriculture: Recent Findings and Issues," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 77(3), pages 727-733.
    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. Naeem Akram, 2012. "Is climate change hindering economic growth of Asian economies?," Asia-Pacific Development Journal, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), vol. 19(2), pages 1-18, December.
    2. Zeynep K. Hansen & Gary D. Libecap & Scott E. Lowe, 2011. "Climate Variability and Water Infrastructure: Historical Experience in the Western United States," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Climate Change: Adaptations Past and Present, pages 253-280 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:pje:journl:article13sumiii is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Olmstead, Sheila M., 2014. "Climate change adaptation and water resource management: A review of the literature," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 500-509.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    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:oup:wbrobs:v:14:y:1999:i:2:p:295-305. 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: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). 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.