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Estimating Non-linear Weather Impacts on Corn Yield--A Bayesian Approach


  • Tian Yu
  • Bruce A. Babcock


We estimate impacts of rainfall and temperature on corn yields by fitting a linear spline model with endogenous thresholds. Using Gibbs sampling and the Metropolis - Hastings algorithm, we simultaneously estimate the thresholds and other model parameters. A hierarchical structure is applied to capture county-specific factors determining corn yields. Results indicate that impacts of both rainfall and temperature are nonlinear and asymmetric in most states. Yield is concave in both weather variables. Corn yield decreases significantly when temperature increases beyond a certain threshold, and when the amount of rainfall decreases below a certain threshold. Flooding is another source of yield loss in some states. A moderate amount of heat is beneficial to corn yield in northern states, but not in other states. Both the levels of the thresholds and the magnitudes of the weather effects are estimated to be different across states in the Corn Belt.

Suggested Citation

  • Tian Yu & Bruce A. Babcock, 2011. "Estimating Non-linear Weather Impacts on Corn Yield--A Bayesian Approach," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 11-wp522, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ias:cpaper:11-wp522

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    Cited by:

    1. Li, Lisha, 2015. "Three essays on crop yield, crop insurance and climate change," ISU General Staff Papers 201501010800005371, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    2. Peng, Yixing, 2015. "Three essays on biofuel, weather and corn yield," ISU General Staff Papers 201501010800005633, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Bayesian estimation; Gibbs sampler; hierarchical structure; Metropolis-Hastings algorithm; non-linear JEL codes: C11; C13; Q10; Q54.;

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General

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