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Estimating the Impact of Weather on Agriculture


  • Michler,Jeffrey David
  • Josephson,Anna Leigh
  • Kilic,Talip
  • Murray,Siobhan


This paper quantifies the significance and magnitude of the effect of measurementerror in remote sensing weather data in the analysis of smallholder agricultural productivity. The analysisleverages 17 rounds of nationally-representative, panel household survey data from six countries in Sub-SaharanAfrica. These data are spatially linked with a range of geospatial weather data sources and related metrics. Thepaper provides systematic evidence on measurement error introduced by (1) different methods used to obfuscate theexact GPS coordinates of households, (2) different metrics used to quantify precipitation and temperature, and (3)different remote sensing measurement technologies. First, the analysis finds no discernible effect of measurementerror introduced by different obfuscation methods. Second, it finds that simple weather metrics, such as total seasonalrainfall and mean daily temperature, outperform more complex metrics, such as deviations in rainfall from the long-runaverage or growing degree days, in a broad range of settings. Finally, the analysis finds substantial amounts ofmeasurement error based on remote sensing products. In extreme cases, the data drawn from different remote sensingproducts result in opposite signs for coefficients on weather metrics, meaning that precipitation or temperaturedrawn from one product purportedly increases crop output while the same metrics drawn from a different productpurportedly reduces crop output. The paper concludes with a set of six best practices for researchers looking to combineremote sensing weather data with socioeconomic survey data.

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  • Michler,Jeffrey David & Josephson,Anna Leigh & Kilic,Talip & Murray,Siobhan, 2021. "Estimating the Impact of Weather on Agriculture," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9867, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:9867

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kibrom A. Abay, 2020. "Measurement errors in agricultural data and their implications on marginal returns to modern agricultural inputs," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 51(3), pages 323-341, May.
    2. Solomon Asfaw & Giuseppe Maggio, 2018. "Gender, Weather Shocks and Welfare: Evidence from Malawi," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(2), pages 271-291, February.
    3. Kibrom A. Abay & Leah E. M. Bevis & Christopher B. Barrett, 2021. "Measurement Error Mechanisms Matter: Agricultural Intensification with Farmer Misperceptions and Misreporting," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 103(2), pages 498-522, March.
    4. Aslihan Arslan & Nancy McCarthy & Leslie Lipper & Solomon Asfaw & Andrea Cattaneo & Misael Kokwe, 2015. "Climate Smart Agriculture? Assessing the Adaptation Implications in Zambia," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(3), pages 753-780, September.
    5. Fernando M. Aragón & Francisco Oteiza & Juan Pablo Rud, 2021. "Climate Change and Agriculture: Subsistence Farmers' Response to Extreme Heat," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 1-35, February.
    6. Salvador Barrios & Luisito Bertinelli & Eric Strobl, 2010. "Trends in Rainfall and Economic Growth in Africa: A Neglected Cause of the African Growth Tragedy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 350-366, May.
    7. Amare, Mulubrhan & Jensen, Nathaniel D. & Shiferaw, Bekele & Cissé, Jennifer Denno, 2018. "Rainfall shocks and agricultural productivity: Implication for rural household consumption," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 79-89.
    8. Alfani, Federica & Arslan, Aslihan & McCarthy, Nancy & Cavatassi, Romina & Sitko, Nicholas, 2021. "Climate resilience in rural Zambia: evaluating farmers’ response to El Niño-induced drought," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(5-6), pages 582-604, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michler, Jeffrey D. & Josephson, Anna & Kilic, Talip & Murray, Siobhan, 2022. "Privacy protection, measurement error, and the integration of remote sensing and socioeconomic survey data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C).

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    Disability; Climate Change and Agriculture; Crops and Crop Management Systems; Food Security; Labor & Employment Law; Labor Markets; Rural Labor Markets;
    All these keywords.

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