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May 2019

Applications of Large Data Sets in Agriculture: Examples from Remote Sensing, Agronomics, and Weather

May 1 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
AGBC 149, Polytechnic Campus
Mesa, AZ 85212 United States
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With the availability of large public and private databases, the agriculture sector may be in a position to gain value from many sources such as remote sensing data, agronomic data, weather data, and economic data. The presentation will give some examples of applications regarding these large data sets for agriculture, including how the data sets can be analyzed.

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August 2019

Farmers, Traders, and Processors: Estimating the Welfare Loss from Double Marginalization for the Indonesian Rubber Sector

August 1 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Reducing buyer market power over farmers is a key strategy to improve rural livelihoods in emerging economies. This paper focuses on implications for farm income and market efficiency of failure of a supply chain to coordinate vertically to eliminate a second stage of buyer power in the vertical market chain - the so-called "double marginalization'' problem. Our specific application is to the Indonesian rubber industry. In the Jambi province production is mainly in the hands of smallholder farmers, who sell via spot transactions to a network of traders who in turn sell in spot exchanges to rubber processors. Processing is highly concentrated, and concentration among traders is also quite high in localized procurement markets. Barriers to buyer coordination are largely absent, and evidence indicates that both traders and processors exercise oligopsony power, a classic problem of double marginalization. We estimate the extent of buyer market power in farmer-trader and trader-processor interactions and then explore the nature of this market failure and quantify the extent of welfare loss and redistribution of income among market participants. We conclude by asking why the market has not addressed the market failure of double marginalization through improved vertical coordination in the supply chain and discussing policy innovations to facilitate better coordination.

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September 2019

Empirically Estimating the Impact of Weather on Agriculture

September 4 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
AGBC 149, Polytechnic Campus
Mesa, AZ 85212 United States
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We quantify the significance and magnitude of the effect of measurement error in satellite weather data on modeling agricultural production. In order to provide rigor to our approach, we combine geospatial weather data from a variety of satellite sources with the georeferenced household survey data from seven sub-Saharan African countries that are being supported by the World Bank Living Standards Measurement Study – Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) initiative. We provide systematic evidence on which weather metrics have strong predictive power over a large set of crops and countries and which metrics are only useful in highly specific settings.

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The Effect of Wealth on Individual-Level Social and Political Outcomes: Evidence from Land Lotteries in New Zealand

September 18 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
AGBC 149, Polytechnic Campus
Mesa, AZ 85212 United States
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Scholars are increasingly interested in the effects of wealth on social and political outcomes including health, democracy, and international conflict. However, empirical research into the social and political consequences of wealth is hampered by obstacles to measurement, and the identification of causal effects. In the proposed project, we use a case of lottery-based land redistribution to estimate the causal effect of wealth on voluntary military service and a range of other socio-economic outcomes. From 1893-1912, a New Zealand government program used public lotteries to redistribute farms to thousands of individuals. This had significant wealth and social status effects in a developing parliamentary democracy. We will collect data on individuals who successfully and unsuccessfully applied for land and what land was applied for. We will match these data to other sources to estimate the effect of wealth resulting from the land redistribution on voluntary service and conduct in the South African War (1899-1902) and World War I; health; fertility; macro-level social outcomes and long-run wealth. A successful pilot study and proof of concept found a significant positive effect (7.5 years) of land transfers on life expectancy. We anticipate generating novel inter-disciplinary insights into the political economy of wealth and conflict, which are especially significant given increasing economic inequality in contemporary democracies.

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Tapped: A Conversation with Chandler’s Craft Brew Pubs

September 25 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Quarthaus, 201 S. Washington St.
Chandler, AZ 85225 United States
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Discover how these local businesses are helping to spur Downtown Chandler’s economic resurgence. Learn what it takes to be a successful start-up as the panelists will field questions on tapping into local markets, cultivating community, and sustaining success over the long term. Dr. Timothy Richards, Morrison Chair in Agribusiness, is moderating the panel discussion.

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Estimating the Consequences of Climate Change from Variation in Weather

September 27 @ 10:30 am - 11:45 pm
WGHL 401, 800 Cady Mall
Tempe, AZ 85281 United States
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I formally relate the consequences of climate change to the time series variation in weather extensively explored by recent empirical literature. I delineate the classes of payoff functions for which reduced-form fixed effects estimators exactly recover the effects of climate. The conditions become more restrictive when regressions do not control for forecasts or for lagged weather, as has been common in the empirical literature to date. I also show how to recover structural estimates from reduced-form weather regressions. My median estimates indicate that following even the RCP 4.5 trajectory of stabilized emissions would reduce U.S. agricultural profits by nearly 50% over this century.

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October 2019

Obesity and Self-Control: Evidence from Purchase Data

October 9 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
AGBC 149, Polytechnic Campus
Mesa, AZ 85212 United States
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In this paper, we examine the relationship between obesity and food purchase behavior using a novel and unique dataset that links individual-level scanner data on food purchases to survey data containing questions about an individual's obesity status. We find that obese individuals have higher purchase shares of unhealthy goods, are more likely to purchase products offered in checkout lanes that exploit consumer temptation, and are significantly more sensitive to price changes in product categories that are both unhealthy and tempting. We find no differences in price sensitivity across obesity levels in comparable product categories that would not be considered tempting. Moreover, we find that the relationship between price sensitivity and BMI is significantly smaller for individuals who have recently lost weight. Our empirical results are consistent with the model of self-control developed by Gul and Pesendorfer (2001) and Benabou and Pycia (2002). We do not find systematic support for the idea that more obese individuals are more myopic, in contrast to earlier research. We also do not nd systematic evidence that obesity is correlated with worse information about the consequences of unhealthy eating.

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Farmers to Entrepreneurs

October 16 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
AGBC 149, Polytechnic Campus
Mesa, AZ 85212 United States
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We study the birth of non farming enterprise in the developing world. We test if such activities are led by skills or are an ex-post income smoothing device for uninsured households. We find that farmers become entrepreneurs in response to negative productivity shocks to farming, while credit constraints do not seem to play a substantial role. Importantly, and consistently with irreversible Acs (2006) investment or learning-by-doing, these reluctant entrepreneurs do not revert to full farming following new positive productivity shocks. These entrepreneurs are typically under performing entrepreneurs while they were above average farmers. This selection might contribute to the understanding of the dual phenomenon of low-productivity units coexisting in developing countries.

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November 2019

Retail Price Premiums for Organic Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

November 6 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
AGBC 149, Polytechnic Campus
Mesa, AZ 85212 United States
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Organic foods are one of the fastest-growing food market segments in the United States, with an average annual growth rate of approximately 14 percent in the last two decades. Despite the large and growing importance of organic foods, we have only limited information about retail price premiums and how these have changed over time, across space, and products. This paper addresses the gap by estimating retail price premiums for organic fresh fruits and vegetables (FFVs) using data and methods that are novel to the field. Specifically, we estimate premiums by constructing panel price indices for both conventional and organic FFVs using point-of-sale scanner data. Our sample includes data from grocery stores and mass merchandisers in 24 contagious Metropolitan Statistical Areas between 2009 and 2017. Our main result is that the national average organic price premiums in the FFV market range between 58 and 92 percent over the period 2009-2017. The premiums are persistent and have been trending upward over this period. We also find that differences in premiums across regions are substantial, while they have slightly converged during the study period. Another substantive contribution of the paper pertains to the “ideal” measurement of price premiums, that has been overlooked in the prior literature. We show that price premiums are substantially overestimated if the compared basket of conventional products is not the same as that of organic products.

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The Evolution of Diet Quality in the U.S.: Evidence from Scanner Data

November 20 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
AGBC 149, Polytechnic Campus
Mesa, AZ 85212 United States
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Christian Rojas is a Professor in the Department of Resource Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In this paper, we compute an index of diet quality as it pertains to food purchases at retail stores in the United States.

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