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Agricultural intensification and land use change: A panel cointegration approach to test induced intensification, land sparing and rebound-effect


  • Rodriguez Garcia, V.
  • Meyfroidt, P.
  • Gaspart, F.


The growing societal demands for land-based products and services, linked to increasing population, can be satisfied through either clearing new land for agriculture or intensifying production on existing land. Agricultural intensification is promoted as a central strategy to fulfill these demands while reducing pressure on land. We used cross-country panel data on cropland area and productivity to test three hypotheses on the relationships between agricultural intensification, land use expansion and contraction. The induced intensification hypothesis postulates that restrictions on cropland expansion can induce intensification. The land sparing hypothesis postulates that intensification allows reducing cropland expansion, while the competing rebound-effect hypothesis asserts that intensification, by making agriculture more profitable, can trigger further land expansion. We used cointegration to disentangle the long-run and short-run causal relationships between the variables. In the short run, we found support for the induced intensification hypothesis for high-income countries, and rebound effect for middle- and low-income countries (due to increases in yield or total factor productivity (TFP) that lead to cropland expansion). In the long run, the land sparing hypothesis holds for low- and middle-income countries (due to increases in yield negatively affecting cropland area). TFP has a positive effect on yields for low- and middle-income countries. Acknowledgement :

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  • Rodriguez Garcia, V. & Meyfroidt, P. & Gaspart, F., 2018. "Agricultural intensification and land use change: A panel cointegration approach to test induced intensification, land sparing and rebound-effect," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277206, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae18:277206
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.277206

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Engle, Robert & Granger, Clive, 2015. "Co-integration and error correction: Representation, estimation, and testing," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 39(3), pages 106-135.
    2. Choi, In, 2001. "Unit root tests for panel data," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 249-272, April.
    3. Nelson B. Villoria & Derek Byerlee & James Stevenson, 2014. "The Effects of Agricultural Technological Progress on Deforestation: What Do We Really Know?," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 36(2), pages 211-237.
    4. Michetti, Melania, 2012. "Modelling Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry in Climate Change: A Review of Major Approaches," Climate Change and Sustainable Development 130546, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    5. Granger, C. W. J., 1981. "Some properties of time series data and their use in econometric model specification," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 121-130, May.
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