Climate Change and Agriculture

Climate Change and Agriculture

An Economic Analysis of Global Impacts, Adaptation and Distributional Effects

New Horizons in Environmental Economics series

Robert Mendelsohn and Ariel Dinar

Despite its great importance, there are surprisingly few economic studies of the impact of climate on agriculture and how agriculture can adapt under a variety of conditions. This book examines 22 countries across four continents, including both developed and developing economies. It provides both a good analytical basis for additional work and solid results for policy debate concerning income distributional effects such as abatement, adaptation, and equity.

Chapter 9: Adaptation Studies

Robert Mendelsohn and Ariel Dinar

Subjects: development studies, agricultural economics, economics and finance, agricultural economics, environmental economics, environment, agricultural economics, climate change, environmental economics


We reviewed the general literature on climate adaptation in Chapter 5. In this review, we examined the literature describing theory, case studies and quantitative approaches to measuring climate adaptation. In this chapter, we examine the empirical results of several quantitative studies that rely on cross-sectional evidence to measure how farmers have responded to climate. The quantitative studies use statistical modeling to capture general behavior across broad populations. There have been several quantitative studies of adaptation to climate change. Some studies of US farms have calculated shifts in crops using mathematical programming (Adams et al., 1990, 1999). Some mathematical programming models have also been used to allocate water across users. These studies, in for example, California, the Colorado River basin and the Nile River basin, have found that it is often important to allocate water from low valued irrigation projects to higher valued uses (Howitt and Pienaar, 2006; Hurd et al., 1999; Lund et al., 2006; Strzepek et al., 1996). There have also been some programming models of individual farms to capture the adjustment costs of climate change (Kaiser et al., 1993; Kelly et al., 2005). The focus of this chapter is upon quantitative analysis of cross-sectional data. The advantage of cross-sectional data is that it measures long-run adaptation behavior to the climate of each farm. By matching farms to climates, one can examine how farm decisions vary by climate. Endogenous choices by farmers to own livestock, choose crop types, pick livestock species, determine herd size, and install irrigation can all...

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