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  • Author: Oeindrila Dube, Omar Garcia-Ponce, Kevin Thom
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We examine how commodity price shocks experienced by rural producers affect the drug trade in Mexico. Our analysis exploits exogenous movements in the Mexican maize price stemming from weather conditions in U.S. maize-growing regions, as well as export flows of other major maize producers. Using data on over 2,200 municipios spanning 1990-2010, we show that lower prices differentially increased the cultivation of both marijuana and opium poppies in municipios more climatically suited to growing maize. This increase was accompanied by differentially lower rural wages, suggesting that households planted more drug crops in response to the decreased income generating potential of maize farming.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Poverty, War on Drugs, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Jonah Busch, Kalifi Ferretti-Gallon
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A new Center for Global Development meta-analysis of 117 studies has identified the key factors that drive or deter deforestation. Some findings confirm conventional wisdom. Building roads and expanding agriculture in forested areas, for example, worsen deforestation, whereas protected areas deter deforestation. Encouragingly, payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs that compensate people who live in or near forests for maintaining them are consistently associated with lower rates of deforestation. But contrary to popular belief, poverty is not associated with greater deforestation, and the rising incomes brought about by economic growth do not, in themselves, lead to less deforestation. Community forest management and strengthening land tenure, often thought to reduce deforestation while promoting development, have no consistent impact on deforestation.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Poverty
  • Author: Dean Karlan, Bram Thuysbaert, Christopher Udry, Lori Beaman
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We partnered with a micro-lender in Mali to randomize credit offers at the village level. Then, in no-loan control villages, we gave cash grants to randomly selected households. These grants led to higher agricultural investments and profits, thus showing that liquidity constraints bind with respect to agricultural investment. In loan-villages, we gave grants to a random subset of farmers who (endogenously) did not borrow. These farmers have lower – in fact zero – marginal returns to the grants. Thus we find important heterogeneity in returns to investment and strong evidence that farmers with higher marginal returns to investment self-select into lending programs.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Kimberly Ann Elliott, Edward Collins
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) measures how well donors score on the dimensions of aid quality that evidence and experience suggest lead to effective aid. Those dimensions are maximizing efficiency, fostering institutions (in recipient countries), reducing burden (for recipient governments), and transparency and learning (on the part of donors). The Quality of Agricultural Official Development Assistance (Ag QuODA), as much as possible, applies the original QuODA methodology to donors giving agricultural aid. In this update of Ag QuODA, we use new data from the Creditor Reporting System to extend our earlier analysis and update it to 2011. We also examine data on aid activities that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is now reporting. We find that the quality of official development assistance (ODA) varies widely, with multilateral donors generally doing better on average than bilateral donors. Improvements in the data quality and availability are making sector-specific assessments like Ag QuODA more feasible, but further improvements are needed to allow a deeper understanding of aid effectiveness.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Amanda Glassman, Thomas J. Bollyky
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Fewer people are smoking in the United States, Europe, and most of the developing world. Excise taxes, bans on smoking in public places, and graphic health warnings are achieving such dramatic reductions in tobacco use in developed countries that a recent Citigroup Bank investment analysis speculated that smoking could virtually disappear in wealthy countries over the next thirty to fifty years.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Gender Issues, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Kimberly Elliott, Edward Collins
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: New international initiatives signal strong commitment to agriculture and food security in the face of growing demand and climate-change challenges. But aid to agriculture still represents just five percent of total official development assistance. With donor budgets under intense pressure, making aid effective is more important than ever, but we still know relatively little about the quality of aid in general and of agricultural aid in particular.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Foreign Aid, Food
  • Author: Devesh Kapur, Kishore Gawande, Shanker Satyanath
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Is there a causal relationship between shocks to renewable natural resources, such as agricultural and forest lands, and the intensity of conflict? In this paper, we conduct a rigorous econometric analysis of a civil conflict that the Indian Prime Minister has called the single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by his country, the so-called Maoist conflict. We focus on over-time within-district variation in the intensity of conflict in the states where this conflict is primarily located. Using a novel data set of killings, we find that adverse renewable resource shocks have a robust, significant association with the intensity of conflict. A one standard deviation decrease in our measure of renewable resources increases killings by 12.5 percent contemporaneously, 9.7 percent after a year, and 42.2 percent after two years. Our instrumental variables strategy allows us to interpret these findings in a causal manner.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Economics, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Dean Karlan, Robert Osei, Christopher Udry, Isaac Osei-Akoto
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The investment decisions of small-scale farmers in developing countries are conditioned by the farmers' financial environment. Binding credit-market constraints and incomplete insurance can reduce investment in activities with high expected profits. We conducted several experiments in northern Ghana in which farmers were randomly assigned to receive cash grants, grants of or opportunities to purchase rainfall-index insurance, or a combination of the two. Demand for index insurance is strong, and insurance leads to significantly larger agricultural investment and riskier production choices in agriculture. The salient constraint to farmer investment is uninsured risk: when provided with insurance against the primary catastrophic risk they face, farmers are able to find resources to increase expenditure on their farms. Demand for insurance in subsequent years is strongly increasing in a farmer's own receipt of insurance payouts, and with the receipt of payouts by others in the farmer's social network. Both investment patterns and the demand for index insurance are consistent with the presence of important basis risk associated with the index insurance, and with imperfect trust that promised payouts will be delivered.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Markets, Food, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Rachid Boumnijel, Amanda McClelland, Niall Tierney, Jenny C. Aker
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Conditional and unconditional cash transfers have been effective in improving development outcomes in a variety of contexts, yet the costs of these programs to program recipients and implementing agencies are rarely discussed. The introduction of mobile money transfer systems in many developing countries offers new opportunities for a more cost-effective means of implementing cash transfer programs. This paper reports on the first randomized evaluation of a cash transfer program delivered via the mobile phone. In response to a devastating drought in Niger, households in targeted villages received monthly cash transfers as part of a social protection program. One-third of targeted villages received a monthly cash transfer via a mobile money transfer system (called zap), whereas one-third received manual cash transfers and the remaining one-third received manual cash transfers plus a mobile phone. We show that the zap delivery mechanism strongly reduced the variable distribution costs for the implementing agency, as well as program recipients' costs of obtaining the cash transfer. The zap approach also resulted in additional benefits: households in zap villages used their cash transfer to purchase a more diverse set of goods, had higher diet diversity, depleted fewer assets and grew more types of crops, especially marginal cash crops grown by women. We posit that the potential mechanisms underlying these results are the lower costs and greater privacy of the receiving the cash transfer via the zap mechanism, as well as changes in intra-household decision-making. This suggests that m-transfers could be a cost-effective means of providing cash transfers for remote rural populations, especially those with limited road and financial infrastructure. However, research on the broader welfare effects in the short- and long-term is still needed
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Jenny C. Aker
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Agriculture can serve as an important engine for economic growth in developing countries, yet yields in these countries have lagged far behind those in developed countries for decades. One potential mechanism for increasing yields is the use of improved agricultural technologies, such as fertilizers, seeds and cropping techniques. Public-sector programs have attempted to overcome information-related barriers to technological adoption by providing agricultural extension services. While such programs have been widely criticized for their limited scale, sustainability and impact, the rapid spread of mobile phone coverage in developing countries provides a unique opportunity to facilitate technological adoption via information and communication technology (ICT)-based extension programs. This article outlines the potential mechanisms through which ICT could facilitate agricultural adoption and the provision of extension services in developing countries. It then reviews existing programs using ICT for agriculture, categorized by the mechanism (voice, text, internet and mobile money transfers) and the type of services provided. Finally, we identify potential constraints to such programs in terms of design and implementation, and conclude with some recommendations for implementing field-based research on the impact of these programs on farmers' knowledge, technological adoption and welfare.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Poverty, Science and Technology, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: David Wheeler, Robin Kraft, Dan Hammer
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This report summarizes recent trends in large-scale tropical forest clearing identified by FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action). Our analysis includes 27 countries that accounted for 94 percent of clearing during the period 2000–2005. We highlight countries with relatively large changes since 2005, both declines and increases. FORMA produces indicators that track monthly changes in the number of 1-sq.-km. tropical forest parcels that have experienced clearing with high probability. This report and the accompanying spreadsheet databases provide monthly estimates for 27 countries, 280 primary administrative units, and 2,907 secondary administrative units. Countries' divergent experiences since 2005 have significantly altered their shares of global clearing in some cases. Brazil's global share fell by 11.2 percentage points from December 2005 to August 2011, while the combined share of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Myanmar increased by 10.8. The diverse patterns revealed by FORMA's first global survey caution against facile generalizations about forest clearing in the pantropics. During the past five years, the relative scale and pace of clearing have changed across regions, within regions, and within countries. Although the overall trend seems hopeful, it remains to be seen whether the decline in forest clearing will persist as the global economy recovers.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Globalization, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar
  • Author: David Wheeler, Robin Kraft, Dan Hammer
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In this paper, we develop and illustrate a prototype incentive system for promoting rapid reduction of forest clearing in tropical countries. Our proposed Tropical Forest Protection Fund (TFPF) is a cash-on-delivery system that rewards independently monitored performance without formal contracts. The system responds to forest tenure problems in many countries by dividing incentive payments between national governments, which command the greatest number of instruments that affect forest clearing, and indigenous communities, which often have tenure rights in forested lands. The TFPF incorporates both monetary and reputational incentives, which are calculated quarterly. The monetary incentives are unconditional cash transfers based on measured performance, while the reputational incentives are publicly disclosed, color-coded performance ratings for each country. The incentives include rewards for: (1) exceeding long-run expectations, given a country's forest clearing history and development status; (2) meeting or exceeding global REDD+ goals; and (3) achieving an immediate reduction in forest clearing. Drawing on monthly forest clearing indicators from the new FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action) database, we illustrate a prototype TFPF for eight East Asian countries: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. A system with identical design principles could be implemented by single or multiple donors for individual or multiple forest proprietors within one or more countries, as well as national or local governments in individual countries, tropical regions, or the global pan-tropics. Our results demonstrate the importance of financial flexibility in the design of the proposed TFPF. Its incentives are calculated to induce a massive, rapid reduction of tropical forest clearing. If that occurs, a TFPF for East Asia will need standby authority for disbursements that may total $10–14 billion annually for the next two decades. This financial burden will not persist, however, because the TFPF is designed to self-liquidate once all recipient countries have achieved clearly specified benchmarks. We estimate that the TFPF can be closed by 2070, with its major financial responsibility discharged by 2040.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Globalization, Markets
  • Political Geography: China, Indonesia, Malaysia, East Asia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: David Wheeler, Robin Kraft, Susmita Dasgupta, Dan Hammer, Brian Blankespoor
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper uses a large panel database to investigate the determinants of forest clearing in Indonesian kabupatens since 2005. Our study incorporates short-run changes in prices and demand for palm oil and wood products, as well as the exchange rate, the real interest rate, land-use zoning, forest protection, the estimated opportunity cost of forested land, the quality of local governance, the poverty rate, population density, the availability of communications infrastructure, transport cost, and local rainfall and terrain slope. Our econometric results highlight the role of dynamic economic factors in forest clearing. We find significant roles for lagged changes in all the short-run economic variables—product prices, demands, the exchange rate and the real interest rate—as well as communications infrastructure, some types of commercial zoning, rainfall, and terrain slope. We find no significance for the other variables, and the absence of impact for protected-area status is particularly notable. Our results strongly support the model of forest clearing as an investment that is highly sensitive to expectations about future forest product prices and demands, as well as changes in the cost of capital (indexed by the real interest rate), the relative cost of local inputs (indexed by the exchange rate), and the cost of land clearing (indexed by local precipitation). By implication, the opportunity cost of forested land fluctuates widely with changes in international markets and decisions by Indonesia's financial authorities about the exchange and interest rates. Our results suggest that forest conservation programs are unlikely to succeed if they ignore such powerful forces.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Globalization, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Indonesia