Three Essays on the Interactions between Agriculture and the Environment
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This dissertation consists of three essays studying two aspects of the interactions between agriculture and the environment: agricultural technology adoption and its environmental impacts (in the first essay), and weather shocks and their impacts on rural households in developing countries (in the second and third essays). The first essay proposes a multimarket equilibrium approach to estimating the consumer surplus for environmentally-friendly technologies adopted by farmers. Compared to conventional non-market valuation techniques based on single-market equilibrium, this new method allows for farmers' price feedback effects on consumers' willingness to pay (WTP) for those technologies. Results from an application indicate that consumers are willing to pay a premium for environmentally-friendly technologies adopted by farmers, and that the multimarket equilibrium WTP is smaller in magnitude than its single-market equilibrium counterpart. In the second essay, I develop a unitary agricultural household model to examine the impacts of rainfall variability on migration, off-farm employment and transfers in rural Ethiopia. Empirical results show that the share of out-migrated household members and per capita off-farm labor supply decrease with average rainfall in the main growing seasons, and increase with the standard deviation of average rainfall in the five main growing seasons prior to the survey. The level and standard deviation of rainfall are found to have indeterminate effects on the amount of transfers that households receive from the extended family or informal social safety nets. The third essay evaluates the effectiveness of different diversification strategies in smoothing consumption. Results suggest that adverse rainfall shock (below average rainfall) and temperature shock (above average extreme heat degree days) both negatively impact consumption. Receiving public transfers is effective in smoothing consumption against adverse rainfall shock, and participating in off-farm employment is effective against adverse temperature shock. Sending migrants to urban areas and receiving transfers from former household members or informal social safety nets are not effective against any weather shock.
- Doctoral Dissertations