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Climate, Water, and Agriculture


  • Robert Mendelsohn
  • Ariel Dinar


This study explores the interaction between climate, water, and agriculture. We test whether surface water withdrawal can help explain the variation of farm values across the United States and whether adding these variables to the standard Ricardian model changes the measured climate sensitivity of agriculture. The paper finds that the value of irrigated cropland is not sensitive to precipitation and increases in value with temperature. Finally, the paper finds that sprinkler systems are used primarily in wet cool sites, whereas gravity and especially drip systems help compensate for higher temperatures. These results indicate that irrigation can help agriculture adapt to global warming.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Mendelsohn & Ariel Dinar, 2003. "Climate, Water, and Agriculture," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 79(3), pages 328-341.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:79:y:2003:i:3:p:328-341

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dinar, Ariel & Zilberman, David, 1991. "The economics of resource-conservation, pollution-reduction technology selection: The case of irrigation water," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 323-348, December.
    2. 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 753-771, September.
    3. Robert A. Young, 1986. "Why Are There So Few Transactions among Water Users?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 68(5), pages 1143-1151.
    4. Easter, K William & Rosegrant, Mark W & Dinar, Ariel, 1999. "Formal and Informal Markets for Water: Institutions, Performance, and Constraints," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 99-116, February.
    5. Cline, William R, 1996. "The Impact of Global Warming on Agriculture: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1309-1311, December.
    6. Roy Darwin, 1999. "The Impact of Global Warming on Agriculture: A Ricardian Analysis: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 1049-1052, September.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment


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