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Competitive Pressure and Technology Adoption: Evidence from a Policy Reform in Western Canada

Author

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  • Ferguson, Shon

    () (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

  • Olfert, Rose

    (Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy)

Abstract

We measure the impact of the removal of a railway transportation subsidy on the adoption of technology for Western Canadian farms, using a unique combination of Census and freight rate data. We exploit the large regional variation in these one-time freight rate increases in order to identify causal effects of increased competitive pressure. Using a difference-in-differences methodology we find that higher freights rates – and hence lower farm gate prices – induced farmers to adopt new, more efficient production technology. We also find that farmers experiencing the greatest transportation cost increases also increased fertilizer usage and made significant land use changes.

Suggested Citation

  • Ferguson, Shon & Olfert, Rose, 2013. "Competitive Pressure and Technology Adoption: Evidence from a Policy Reform in Western Canada," Working Paper Series 966, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0966
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James Vercammen, 1996. "An Overview of Changes in Western Grain Transportation Policy," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 44(4), pages 397-402, December.
    2. Catherine J. Morrison Paul & Warren E. Johnston & Gerald A. G. Frengley, 2000. "Efficiency in New Zealand Sheep and Beef Farming: The Impacts of Regulatory Reform," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 325-337, May.
    3. Alla Lileeva & Daniel Trefler, 2010. "Improved Access to Foreign Markets Raises Plant-level Productivity…For Some Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1051-1099.
    4. Troy G. Schmitz & Tim Highmoor & Andrew Schmitz, 2002. "Termination of the WGTA: An Examination of Factor Market Distortions, Input Subsidies anc Compensation," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 50(3), pages 333-347, November.
    5. S.N. Kulshreshtha & D.G. Devine, 1978. "Historical Perspective And Propositions On The Crowsnest Pass Freight Rate Agreement," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 26(2), pages 72-83, July.
    6. James A. Schmitz Jr., 2005. "What Determines Productivity? Lessons from the Dramatic Recovery of the U.S. and Canadian Iron Ore Industries Following Their Early 1980s Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 582-625, June.
    7. Chavas, Jean-Paul & Holt, Matthew T, 1996. "Economic Behavior under Uncertainty: A Joint Analysis of Risk Preferences and Technology," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(2), pages 329-335, May.
    8. Michael R. Rahm & Wallace E. Huffman, 1984. "The Adoption of Reduced Tillage: The Role of Human Capital and Other Variables," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 66(4), pages 405-413.
    9. K. K. Klein & W. A. Kerr, 1996. "The Crow Rate Issue: A Retrospective on the Contributions of the Agricultural Economics Profession in Canada," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 44(1), pages 1-18, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mark Brown & Shon M. Ferguson & Crina Viju, 2017. "Agricultural Trade Reform, Reallocation and Technical Change: Evidence from the Canadian Prairies," NBER Chapters,in: Understanding Productivity Growth in Agriculture National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bollman, Ray & Ferguson, Shon, 2016. "The Local Impacts of Agricultural Subsidies: Evidence from the Canadian Prairies," Working Paper Series 1129, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural Trade Liberalization; Export Subsidy; Technical Change;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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