Scholarly Work - Agricultural Economics & Economics

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    Who does (and does not) take introductory economics?
    (Informa UK Limited, 2023-11) Stock, Wendy A.
    The author of this article summarizes which, when, where, and how students take introductory economics. Among students who began college in 2012, 74 percent never took economics, up from 62 percent in 2004. Fifteen percent of beginning college students in 2012 took some economics, and 12 percent were one-and-done students. About half of introductory economics students never took another economics class, and only about 2 percent majored in economics. The characteristics of one-and-done and some economics students are generally similar and closer to one another than to students with no economics. The implication is that efforts to diversify the profession should focus at least in part on attracting students who would otherwise not take introductory economics
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    Market power in California's water market
    (Wiley, 2023-10) Tomori, Françeska; Ansink, Erik; Houba, Harold; Hagerty, Nick; Bos, Charles
    We estimate market power in California's surface water market. Market power may distort the potential welfare gains from water marketing. We use a Nash-Cournot model and derive a closed-form solution for the extent of market power in a water market setting. We then use this solution to estimate market power in a newly assembled dataset on California's water economy. We show that, under the assumptions of the Nash-Cournot model, market power in this thin market is limited.
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    Effects of water surplus on prevented planting in the US Corn Belt for corn and soybeans
    (IOP Publishing, 2023-09) Lee, Seunghyun; Abatzoglou, John T
    Record-high prevented planting of staple crops such as corn and soybeans in the United States (US) Corn Belt due to heavy rainfall in recent years has spurred concern over crop production, as growing evidence suggests winter and spring precipitation extremes will occur more frequentlyin the coming decades. Using county-level data, we examine the effects of planting-season water surplus—precipitation minus evaporative demand—on prevented planting of corn and soybeans in the US Corn Belt. Using monthly water surplus data, we show significant impacts of excess moisture on preventing planting and suggest a 58%–177% increase in prevented planting during the months of April–June per standard deviation increase in water surplus. Downscaled climate change projections are used to estimate future changes in prevented planting during the mid-century (2036–2065) under the moderate emission scenario (RCP4.5). Our model predicts a decrease in prevented planting of approximately 111,000 acres (12%) for corn and 80,000 acres (16%) for soybeans in the US Corn Belt, relative to historical levels from 1950 to 2005. However, if we consider only precipitation and disregard evaporative demand, the alternative model indicates an increase of approximately 260,000 acres (30%) for corn and 86,000 acres (19%) for soybeans. Geographically, we find that prevented planting will slightly increase in some parts of Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin and generally decrease in the other parts of the US Corn Belt. This work collectively highlights the value of incorporating water surplus data in assessing prevented-planting impacts and is the first known study to examine changing risk of prevented planting under future climate scenarios that may help inform adaptation efforts to avoid losses.
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    Generic Aversion and Observational Learning in the Over-the-Counter Drug Market
    (American Economic Association, 2023-07) Carrera, Mariana; Villas-Boas, Sofia
    Through a labeling intervention at a national retailer, we test three hypotheses for consumer aversion to generic over-the-counter drugs: lack of information on the comparability of generic and brand drugs, inattention to their price differences, and uncertainty about generic quality that can be reduced with information on peer purchase rates. With a difference-in-differences strategy, we find that posted information on the purchases of other customers increases generic purchase shares significantly, while other treatments have mixed results. Consumers without prior generic purchases appear particularly responsive to this information. These findings have policy implications for promoting evidence-based, cost-effective choices.
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    Measuring Fishing Capacity Using Quantile Data Envelopment Analysis
    (University of Chicago Press, 2023-07) Walden, John B.; Atwood, Joseph
    Data envelopment analysis (DEA) is an extensively used method to estimate capacity and technical and economic efficiency of fishing vessels. However, DEA is often criticized because of the influence that outliers, or noisy data, can have on the DEA estimates. Recently, quantile data envelopment analysis (QDEA) was introduced to identify and address issues caused by influential data outliers. QDEA endogenously identifies potential outliers and eliminates them from a given observation’s DEA reference set. In this study, we utilize QDEA to estimate fishing fleet capacity for vessels operating in the northwest Atlantic Ocean during 2019. We present methods for implementing the QDEA model that we think are practical and can be adapted for fishing fleets worldwide. Results show lower capacity estimates using the QDEA model than what the standard capacity model would yield. Our results are quite encouraging in terms of utilizing the QDEA model in future work.
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    The spillover effects of parental verbal conflict on classmates' cognitive and noncognitive outcomes
    (Wiley, 2022-11) Zhou, Weina; Hill, Andrew J.
    This study shows that children exposed to Interparental Verbal Conflict (IPVC) exert negative spillovers on their peers. Our first identification strategy uses within-school, across-classroom variation in peer's IPVC in schools that randomly assign students into classrooms. Our second strategy uses within-student, year-to-year changes in peer's IPVC to control for peer's pre-existing characteristics. Both results suggest that being randomly assigned to classes where more classmates experience IPVC reduces mental wellbeing, lowers social engagement, diminishes self-confidence, and increases the likelihood of problem behaviors. Effects operate by damaging relationships between classmates. There is no evidence of impacts on test scores or teacher behavior.
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    Terrorism and political attitudes: Evidence from European social surveys
    (Elsevier BV, 2023-03) Peri, Giovanni; Rees, Daniel I.; Smith, Brock
    Terror attacks in Europe have increased substantially since the turn of the last century. Using data from European Social Surveys (ESS), we examine their effects on political attitudes and orientation by comparing within-country survey responses shortly before and after terror attacks involving at least one fatality. At the national level, we find little support for the hypothesis that terror attacks influenced attitudes towards immigration or political orientation. By contrast, there is evidence of post-attack increases in satisfaction with the national government and trust in parliament among ESS respondents living in the region that was attacked.
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    Geography, Geology, and Regional Economic Development
    (Elsevier BV, 2022-09) Berry, Kevin; James, Alexander; Smith, Brock; Watson, Brett
    We examine how large and localized resource discoveries affect long-run population growth in the United States, and examine how these shocks interact with pre-existing geographic properties of the discovery site. Using a dynamic event study analysis and developing novel, geographically delineated measures of both amenity value and geographic isolation, we find that resource discoveries cause population to grow both in the short and long-run (e.g., fifty years). However, this effect is largely driven by discoveries in unfavorable locations that might struggle to grow in the absence of a resource discovery. More generally, this paper highlights the importance of considering heterogeneous effects of resource shocks and yields insights into the observed spatial distribution of people in the United States.
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    Does Paid Family Leave Cause Mothers to Have More Children? Evidence from California
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-05) Golightly, Eleanor; Meyerhofer, Pamela
    Literature on the labor market and health effects of paid family leave largely overlooks the impacts on fertility, particularly in the United States. Increased childbearing following the introduction of a modest paid family leave policy in the U.S. could explain the contrasting short–term gains and long–term losses in women’s labor market outcomes found in recent work. We exploit the nation’s first paid family leave program, implemented in California in 2004. Using the universe of U.S. births and a difference-in-differences strategy, we find that access to leave increases fertility by 2.8 percent, driven by higher order births to mothers in their 30s, as well as Hispanic mothers and those with a high school degree. Our results are robust to corrective methods of inference, including synthetic controls. Our findings may inform the discussion of a national paid family leave policy.
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    The Thinning Cash Cattle Market: Evaluating Sample Size, Policy Prescriptions, and Pricing Proxies
    (Cambridge University Press, 2022-08) Brester, Gary W.; Swanser, Kole; Crosby, Brett
    Many cattle producers and producer organizations are concerned that the live cattle negotiated market has become too thin. The percentage of live cattle procured through direct negotiations has declined below 20%, while the percentage procured through formulas has increased to more than 60%. Most formulas are based on directly negotiated cattle prices. Proposed legislation mandating that a larger percentage of live cattle be procured through negotiations represents a market intervention. We show that live cattle futures prices are good proxies for negotiated cash prices, while being less restrictive for meeting proposed cash cattle procurement percentage requirements.
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    Terror attacks and election outcomes in Europe, 1970–201
    (Elsevier BV, 2022-10) Rees, Daniel I.; Smith, Brock
    With only a few exceptions, previous studies on terror attacks and election outcomes have focused on a particular country or attack, limiting their generalizability. We use data on 393 legislative elections held in 39 European countries during the period 1970–2017 to estimate the effects of terror attacks on election outcomes. Terror attacks occurring shortly before an election are associated with an increase in an index of nationalist vote share.
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    Housing booms and H‐2A agricultural guest worker employment
    (Wiley, 2022-05) Castillo, Marcelo; Charlton, Diane
    This paper examines the effects of changes in housing demand on H-2A employment within commuting zones from 2001-2017. Agricultural employers who demonstrate that no workers in the domestic labor market are willing or able to perform a seasonal or temporary farm job can apply for certification to hire guest workers through the H-2A visa program. H-2A employment grew more than 450% between 2001 and 2019 from 45,000 to 258,000. This is one of the first papers to econometrically examine causal factors that contributed to the growth of H-2A employment. We find that a 1% increase in housing demand leads to a 0.40-0.97% increase in H-2A employment. We also show suggestive evidence that changes in housing demand affect H-2A employment through shifts in the demand for workers in non-farm industries that pull workers from the agricultural sector. Consistent with previous literature, we show that positive housing demand shocks lead to increased employment in construction and other nontradable sectors that traditionally hire immigrant workers. We also find positive effects of housing demand on local farm wages, consistent with an inward shift in the local farm labor supply during housing booms.
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    Effects of violent media content: Evidence from the rise of the UFC
    (Elsevier BV, 2022-05) Lindo, Jason, M.; Swensen, Isaac D.; Waddell, Glen R.
    We document the effect of violent media on crime. Specifically, we evaluate the effects of The Ultimate Fighter, a hit TV show that features fighters competing in violent mixed martial arts and which brought Ultimate Fighting Championship into the mainstream. We estimate the effect of exposure to the show’s earliest episodes using panel data from police agencies across the United States and a strategy that uses network ratings prior to the show’s premier as an instrumental variable. We show that this exposure significantly reduced crime: these effects are particularly evident for assault, began in the month the show premiered, and persisted for many years. These estimates do not reflect systematic differences across geographic areas in their trends in crime rates prior to 2005. To complement our main results, we also investigate the effects of “UFC Main Events,” which air in bars and on Pay-Per-View. This analysis additionally suggests reductions in violence caused by viewership.
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    The Effect of Concealed-Carry and Handgun Restrictions on Gun-Related Deaths: Evidence from the Sullivan Act of 1911
    (Oxford University Press, 2022-01) Depew, Briggs; Swensen, Isaac D.
    The 1911 New York State Sullivan Act outlawed carrying concealable firearms without a licence, established strict licencing rules and regulated the sale and possession of handguns. We analyse the effects of the Sullivan Act using historical data on mortality rates, pistol permits and citations for illegal carrying. Our analysis of pistol permits and citations reveal clear initial effects of the Sullivan Act on gun-related behaviours. Using synthetic control and difference-in-differences methodologies, our main analyses show no effects on overall homicide rates, evidence of a reduction in overall suicide rates and strong evidence of a large and sustained decrease in gun-related suicide rates.
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    Seasonal agricultural activity and crime
    (Wiley, 2021-09) Charlton, Diane; James, Alexander; Smith, Brock
    Sudden shocks to labor demand have sometimes been shown to increase local crime rates. We build on this literature by estimating the causal effect of labor-intensive seasonal agricultural activity on crime. We analyze a unique data set that describes criminal activity and fruit, vegetable, and horticultural (FVH) employment by month and U.S. county from 1990 to 2016. We find that the FVH labor share is associated with reduced property and violent crime rates, and possibly the number of property crimes committed within county years. Examining heterogeneities based on ethnicity, labor-intensive FVH activity decreases the rate of non-Hispanic arrests and victimization, and increases the number of Hispanic arrests and victims (consistent with rising local Hispanic populations). Taken together, results are broadly consistent with the idea that agricultural harvest of labor-intensive crops enhances local labor market opportunities that reduce incentives to commit crimes. Results are robust to a battery of alternative specifications that address the inherent challenges associated with measuring seasonal agricultural labor.
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    The impact of farm-level variables on federal crop insurance coverage selections
    (Emerald, 2022-03) Boyd, Mark; Belasco, Eric
    Purpose.This paper examines the relationship between farm-level variables related to cash flow and premium rates on federal crop insurance coverage selection.Design/methodology/approach. Using farm-level data from the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), the authors estimate a linear fixed effects model to evaluate the relationship between farm-level and regional variables and federal crop insurance coverage selections.Findings. The authors find evidence indicating that expected cash flow plays an important role in coverage level decisions. For example, variables directly related to cash flow, such as higher costs, are associated with significant differences in coverage level selection, though the direction of the association is dependent on the type of costs, whether fixed or variable, while higher revenue higher acreage farms insure at higher coverage levels. In addition, higher premium costs are associated with lower coverage level selections, despite subsidy incentives.Originality/value. This is the first paper that identifies a potential solution to the puzzling finding that farmers do not consistently maximize coverage level. This research points to the influence of credit constraints as playing a role in limiting coverage level selections.
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    Who buys crop insurance? Predictors of the participation gap between organic and conventional farms
    (Wiley, 2021-09) Belasco, Eric J.; Fuller, Kate Binzen
    This study examines the participation gap in crop insurance between organic and conventional producers.To solicit input from producers of organic and diversified crop production systems, we developed a national survey through the Organic Agriculture Research and Education Initiative (OREI) that resulted in over 1,000 valid responses, as well as data from the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS). Results suggest a high degree of correlation between crop insurance participation with respect to the degree of commercialization of a farm. Additionally, small and diversified operations report that the complexity and record keeping associated with crop insurance is often not worthwhile. This paper concludes with a discussion regarding future risk management education programs and how they can be better targeted by combining the use of crop insurance in conjunction with improved record keeping and a better understanding of loan requirements and documentation.
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    Seasonal agricultural activity and crime
    (Wiley, 2021-09) Charlton, Diane; James, Alexander; Smith, Brock
    Sudden shocks to labor demand have sometimes been shown to increase local crime rates. We build on this literature by estimating the causal effect of labor-intensive seasonal agricultural activity on crime. We analyze a unique data set that describes criminal activity and fruit, vegetable, and horticultural (FVH) employment by month and U.S. county from 1990-2016. We find the FVH labor share is associated with reduced property and violent crime rates, and possibly the number of property crimes committed within county-years. Examining heterogeneities based on ethnicity, labor intensive FVH activity decreases the rate of non-Hispanic arrests and victimization and increases the number of Hispanic arrests and victims (consistent with rising local Hispanic populations). Taken together, results are broadly consistent with the idea that agricultural harvest of labor-intensive crops enhances local labor market opportunities that reduce incentives to commit crimes. Results are robust to a battery of alternative specifications that address the inherent challenges associated with measuring seasonal agricultural labor
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    Seasonal farm labor and COVID ‐19 spread
    (Wiley, 2022-09) Charlton, Diane
    The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 caused unprecedented shocks to agricultural food systems, including increased risk to worker health, labor-related input costs, and production uncertainty. Despite employer precautions, there were numerous worksite outbreaks of COVID-19. This paper examines the relationship between month-to-month variation in historical agricultural employment and changes in the incidence of confirmed COVID-19cases and deaths within U.S. counties from April to August 2020. The results show that employment of100 additional workers in fruit, vegetable, and horticultural production was associated with 4.5% more COVID-19 cases within counties or an additional 18.65 COVID-19 cases and 0.34 additional COVID-19 deaths per 100,000individuals in the county workforce.
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    Self-Fulfilling Prophecies in the Classroom
    (University of Chicago Press, 2021-09) Hill, Andrew J.; Jones, Daniel B.
    Do teachers’ expectations directly impact student achievement? We draw on administrative data from North Carolina schools that report both student test scores and teachers’ expectations of students’ performance on these tests. Employing student fixed effects and instrumental variables strategies to overcome endogeneity concerns, we find that higher exogenously determined teacher expectations increase test scores for fourth to eighth graders. Impacts are suggestively larger for students in earlier grades and in self-contained classes with the same math and reading teacher.
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