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Is Weather Really Additive in Agricultural Production? Implications for Climate Change Impacts

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  • Ortiz-Bobea, Ariel


    (Resources for the Future)

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    Recent reduced-form econometric models of climate change impacts on agriculture assume climate is additive. This is reflected in climate regressors that are aggregated over several months that include the growing season. In this paper I develop a simple model to show how this assumption imposes implausible characteristics on the production technology that are in serious conflict with the agricultural sciences. I test this assumption using a crop yield model of US corn that accounts for variation in weather at various times of the growing season. Results strongly reject additivity and suggest that weather shocks such as extreme temperatures are particularly detrimental toward the middle of the season around flowering time, in agreement with the natural sciences. I discuss how the additivity assumption tends to underestimate the range of adaptation possibilities available to farmers, thus overstating projected climate change impacts on the sector.

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    Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-13-41.

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    Date of creation: 20 Dec 2013
    Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-13-41
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    1. Ariel Ortiz-Bobea & Richard E. Just, 2013. "Modeling the Structure of Adaptation in Climate Change Impact Assessment," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 95(2), pages 244-251.
    2. John M. Antle, 1983. "Sequential Decision Making in Production Models," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 65(2), pages 282-290.
    3. Michael J. Roberts & Wolfram Schlenker, 2011. "The Evolution of Heat Tolerance of Corn: Implications for Climate Change," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Climate Change: Adaptations Past and Present, pages 225-251 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Richard E. Just & Rulon D. Pope, 1979. "Production Function Estimation and Related Risk Considerations," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 61(2), pages 276-284.
    5. Yair Mundlak & Assaf Razin, 1971. "On Multistage Multiproduct Production Functions," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 53(3), pages 491-499.
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