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Crop Yield Skewness and the Normal Distribution

  • Hennessy, David A.

Empirical studies point to negative crop yield skewness, but the literature provides few clear insights as to why. This paper formalizes three points on the matter. Statistical laws on aggregates do not imply a normal distribution. Whenever the weather-conditioned mean yield has diminishing marginal product with respect to a weather-conditioning index, then there is a disposition toward negative yield skewness. This is because high marginal product in bad weather stretches out the yield distribution's left tail relative to that for weather. For disaggregated yields, unconditional skewness is decomposed into weather-conditioned skewness plus two other terms and each is studied in turn.

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File URL: http://www.econ.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/publications/papers/p15019-2012-03-29.pdf
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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 35019.

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Date of creation: 29 Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, April 2009, vol. 34 no. 1, pp. 34-52
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:35019
Contact details of provider: Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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  1. Bruce J. Sherrick & Fabio C. Zanini & Gary D. Schnitkey & Scott H. Irwin, 2004. "Crop Insurance Valuation under Alternative Yield Distributions," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(2), pages 406-419.
  2. Vitor A. Ozaki & Sujit K. Ghosh & Barry K. Goodwin & Ricardo Shirota, 2008. "Spatio-Temporal Modeling of Agricultural Yield Data with an Application to Pricing Crop Insurance Contracts," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 90(4), pages 951-961.
  3. Gergaud, Olivier & Ginsburgh, Victor, 2010. "Natural Endowments, Production Technologies and the Quality of Wines in Bordeaux. Does Terroir Matter?," Journal of Wine Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 3-21, March.
  4. Octavio A. Ramirez & Sukant Misra & James Field, 2003. "Crop-Yield Distributions Revisited," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(1), pages 108-120.
  5. Joseph Atwood & Saleem Shaik & Myles Watts, 2003. "Are Crop Yields Normally Distributed? A Reexamination," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(4), pages 888-901.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521586054 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Weninger, Quinn & Just, Richard E., 1999. "Are Crop Yields Normally Distributed?," Staff General Research Papers 5064, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  8. Barry K. Goodwin, 2001. "Problems with Market Insurance in Agriculture," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(3), pages 643-649.
  9. Wolfram Schlenker & Michael J. Roberts, 2006. "Nonlinear Effects of Weather on Corn Yields ," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 28(3), pages 391-398.
  10. Tannura, Michael A. & Irwin, Scott H. & Good, Darrel L., 2008. "Weather, Technology, and Corn and Soybean Yields in the U.S. Corn Belt," Marketing and Outlook Research Reports 37501, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.
  11. Wolfram Schlenker & W. Michael Hanemann & Anthony C. Fisher, 2006. "The Impact of Global Warming on U.S. Agriculture: An Econometric Analysis of Optimal Growing Conditions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 113-125, February.
  12. David A. Hennessy, 2009. "Crop Yield Skewness Under Law of the Minimum Technology," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(1), pages 197-208.
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