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Does Federal Crop Insurance Make Environmental Externalities from Agriculture Worse?

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Listed:
  • Jeremy G. Weber
  • Nigel Key
  • Erik O’Donoghue

Abstract

Farmers dramatically increased their use of federal crop insurance in the 2000s. From 2000 to 2013, premium subsidies increased sevenfold and acres enrolled increased by 77%. Although designed for nonenvironmental goals, subsidized insurance may affect the use of land, fertilizer, and agrochemicals and, therefore, environmental externalities from agriculture. Using novel panel data, we examine farmer responses to changes in coverage with an empirical approach that exploits program limits on coverage that were more binding for some farmers than for others. Estimates indicate that expanded coverage had little effect on the share of farmland harvested, crop specialization, productivity, or fertilizer and chemical use. More broadly, we construct and describe a new nationwide, farm-level panel data set with nearly 32,500 farms observed at least twice over the 2000–2013 period, a resource that should enrich US agro-environmental research.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy G. Weber & Nigel Key & Erik O’Donoghue, 2016. "Does Federal Crop Insurance Make Environmental Externalities from Agriculture Worse?," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 707-742.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jaerec:doi:10.1086/687549
    DOI: 10.1086/687549
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ifft, Jennifer & Jodlowski, Margaret, 2018. "Federal crop insurance participation and adoption of sustainable production practices by US corn farms," 166th Seminar, August 30-31, 2018, Galway, West of Ireland 276196, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Hsing-Hsiang Huang & Michael R. Moore, 2018. "Farming under Weather Risk: Adaptation, Moral Hazard, and Selection on Moral Hazard," NBER Chapters, in: Agricultural Productivity and Producer Behavior, pages 77-124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Yu, Jisang & Hendricks, Nathan P., 2017. "Crop Insurance Moral Hazard from Price and Weather Forecasts," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258336, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Jisang Yu & Nathan P. Hendricks, 2020. "Input Use Decisions with Greater Information on Crop Conditions: Implications for Insurance Moral Hazard and the Environment," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 102(3), pages 826-845, May.
    5. Zeng, Shuwei & Du, Xiaodong & Gould, Brian, "undated". "Input/Output Measures and Implication for Productivity Estimates," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 261217, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Juan He & Xiaoyong Zheng & Roderick Rejesus & Jose Yorobe, 2020. "Input use under cost‐of‐production crop insurance: Theory and evidence," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 51(3), pages 343-357, May.
    7. Alexandre Gohin, 2019. "General Equilibrium Modelling of the Insurance Industry: U.S. Crop Insurance," Journal of Global Economic Analysis, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, vol. 4(2), pages 108-145, December.
    8. Ghosh, Prasenjit & Miao, Ruiqing, 2018. "Agricultural Irrigation’s Responses to Federal Crop Insurance in the United States," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 275667, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    9. Ifft, Jennifer & Jodlowski, Margaret, 2017. "Federal crop insurance and agricultural credit use," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 259120, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    10. Paudel, Jayash & Crago, Christine L., 2018. "Fertilizer Use and Water Quality in the United States," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 274312, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    11. Tatyana Deryugina & Barrett Kirwan, 2018. "Does The Samaritan'S Dilemma Matter? Evidence From U.S. Agriculture," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 56(2), pages 983-1006, April.
    12. Bigelow, Daniel & Borchers, Allison, 2017. "Major Uses of Land in the United States, 2012," Economic Information Bulletin 263079, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    13. Niklas Möhring & Martina Bozzola & Stefan Hirsch & Robert Finger, 2020. "Are pesticides risk decreasing? The relevance of pesticide indicator choice in empirical analysis," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 51(3), pages 429-444, May.
    14. Bontemps, Christophe & Bougherara, Douadia & Nauges, Céline, 2020. "Do Risk Preferences Really Matter? The Case of Pesticide Use in Agriculture," TSE Working Papers 20-1095, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    15. Ifft, Jennifer & Jodlowski, Margaret, 2018. "Federal crop insurance participation and adoption of sustainable production practices by U.S. farms," SCC-76 Meeting, 2018, April 5-7, Kansas City, Missouri 276148, SCC-76: Economics and Management of Risk in Agriculture and Natural Resources.
    16. Sloggy, Matthew R. & Manning, Dale, 2020. "Natural Insurance and Weak Substitutability: Using Insurance Markets to Value Groundwater Stocks in Kansas," 2020 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, Kansas City, Missouri 304575, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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