Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

This series is automatically populated with publications deposited by UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics researchers in accordance with the University of California’s open access policies. For more information see Open Access Policy Deposits and the UC Publication Management System.

Cover page of Governance in the Face of Extreme Events: Lessons from Evolutionary Processes for Structuring Interventions, and the Need to Go Beyond.

Governance in the Face of Extreme Events: Lessons from Evolutionary Processes for Structuring Interventions, and the Need to Go Beyond.

(2022)

The increasing frequency of extreme events, exogenous and endogenous, poses challenges for our societies. The current pandemic is a case in point; but "once-in-a-century" weather events are also becoming more common, leading to erosion, wildfire and even volcanic events that change ecosystems and disturbance regimes, threaten the sustainability of our life-support systems, and challenge the robustness and resilience of societies. Dealing with extremes will require new approaches and large-scale collective action. Preemptive measures can increase general resilience, a first line of protection, while more specific reactive responses are developed. Preemptive measures also can minimize the negative effects of events that cannot be avoided. In this paper, we first explore approaches to prevention, mitigation and adaptation, drawing inspiration from how evolutionary challenges have made biological systems robust and resilient, and from the general theory of complex adaptive systems. We argue further that proactive steps that go beyond will be necessary to reduce unacceptable consequences.

Compensation incentives and heat exposure affect farm worker effort.

(2021)

Farm workers are exposed to high risk of heat-related illness, especially when their jobs require working outside at a fast pace during hot days. Climate change has increased the number of days with high temperatures, and thereby the amount of time that farm workers are likely exposed to extreme heat. To better understand how high heat exposure affects farm workers, this study investigates how crop workers respond to heat exposure and estimates the effects of different pay and work arrangements on workers' responses to heat exposure. We explore, specifically, whether piece-rate arrangements increase workers' effort during periods with high heat exposure compared to workers paid by hourly wages. We use observational data from detailed measurements of localized heat exposure and individual workers' effort in the field. First, these results show workers adjust their effort in response to heat exposure when the heat exposure level changes. Second, piece-rate arrangements increase workers' effort during work shifts. Third, piece-rate arrangements allow workers to modify their effort more easily during different heat exposure levels. When facing low levels of heat exposure, workers who were paid by piece-rate arrangements exert a higher effort than workers paid by hourly wages, up until WBGT is 26.6˚C. When facing high levels of heat exposure (with WBGT exceeding 29.6˚C), workers paid by piece-rate arrangements lower their effort compared to workers paid by hourly wage arrangements.

Cover page of Social dimensions of fertility behavior and consumption patterns in the Anthropocene.

Social dimensions of fertility behavior and consumption patterns in the Anthropocene.

(2020)

We consider two aspects of the human enterprise that profoundly affect the global environment: population and consumption. We show that fertility and consumption behavior harbor a class of externalities that have not been much noted in the literature. Both are driven in part by attitudes and preferences that are not egoistic but socially embedded; that is, each household's decisions are influenced by the decisions made by others. In a famous paper, Garrett Hardin [G. Hardin, Science 162, 1243-1248 (1968)] drew attention to overpopulation and concluded that the solution lay in people "abandoning the freedom to breed." That human attitudes and practices are socially embedded suggests that it is possible for people to reduce their fertility rates and consumption demands without experiencing a loss in wellbeing. We focus on fertility in sub-Saharan Africa and consumption in the rich world and argue that bottom-up social mechanisms rather than top-down government interventions are better placed to bring about those ecologically desirable changes.

Cover page of Terminated marketing order provided resources to California peach and nectarine growers

Terminated marketing order provided resources to California peach and nectarine growers

(2020)

Marketing orders allow farmers to collectively fund industry-wide services that may be difficult to provide through a voluntary approach. But not all farmers support collective approaches. We employed ballot data from U.S. Department of Agriculture and survey data we collected to explore why farmers in California voted to terminate the federal fresh peach and nectarine marketing orders in 2011 and the implications of this termination. Even after controlling for other factors, we found that farmers who produced more were significantly less likely to vote for continuation. We also found that detailed industry information provided via the marketing orders was significantly more important to respondents voting for continuation, and respondents with more organic production were significantly more likely to vote for continuation. These results suggest farmers may have lost important production and marketing resources due to termination of the orders, with evidence that smaller farms were more affected. This termination may thus have accelerated the exit of farmers from this industry.

Cover page of Costs of cannabis testing compliance: Assessing mandatory testing in the California cannabis market.

Costs of cannabis testing compliance: Assessing mandatory testing in the California cannabis market.

(2020)

Most U.S. states that have regulated and taxed cannabis have imposed some form of mandatory safety testing requirements. In California, the country's largest and oldest legal cannabis market, mandatory testing was first enforced by state regulators in July 2018, and additional mandatory tests were introduced at the end of 2018. All cannabis must be tested and labeled as certified by a state-licensed cannabis testing laboratory before it can be legally marketed in California. Every batch that is sold by licensed retailers must be tested for more than 100 contaminants, including 66 pesticides with tolerance levels lower than the levels allowable for any other agricultural product in California. This paper estimates the costs of compliance with mandatory cannabis testing laws and regulations, using California's testing regime as a case study. We use state government data, data collected from testing laboratories, and data collected from lab equipment suppliers to run a set of Monte Carlo simulations and estimate the cost per pound of compliance with California's new cannabis testing regulations. We find that cost per pound is highly sensitive to average batch size and testing failure rates. We present results under a variety of different assumptions about batch size and failure rates. We also find that under realistic assumptions, the loss of cannabis that must be destroyed if a batch fails testing accounts for a larger share of total testing costs than does the cost of the lab tests. Using our best estimates of average batch size (8 pounds) and failure rate (4%) in the 2019 California market, we estimate testing cost at $136 per pound of dried cannabis flower, or about 10 percent of the reported average wholesale price of legal cannabis in the state. Our findings explain effects of the testing standards on the cost of supplying legal licensed cannabis, in California, other U.S. states, and foreign jurisdictions with similar testing regimes.

Cover page of Financial effect of limiting pesticide use near schools for almonds in nine counties depends on soils and weather

Financial effect of limiting pesticide use near schools for almonds in nine counties depends on soils and weather

(2020)

Effective Jan. 1, 2018, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation enacted a regulation regarding the use of pesticides near public K-12 schools and licensed child day care centers, including a provision that bans specific types of applications, including air-blast and air-assist, during weekday school hours (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.) to provide an additional safety margin for pesticide exposure beyond those provided by other regulations. We considered the financial effect on almond growers in nine counties, accounting for four-fifths of total almond production in 2014, if they had been unable to complete a standard spring disease management program on any buffer zone acreage. Results indicated that total annual losses for those counties if such a regulation had been in effect would have been $8.7 million, with per-acre losses ranging from 22% to over 50% of total operating costs, depending on the county. However, using a methodology that took into account historical weather and soil hydrologic group data, we estimated average annual losses in the nine counties among almond growers would have been under $0.2 million because the regulation would have affected the number of sprays completed for relatively few acres in relatively few years.

Cover page of The economic viability of suppressive crop rotations for the control of verticillium wilt in organic strawberry production

The economic viability of suppressive crop rotations for the control of verticillium wilt in organic strawberry production

(2019)

Soil-borne diseases and nitrogen availability are important limits on organic strawberry production. A trial using suppressive crop rotations to combat Verticillium wilt was conducted to see its effects on strawberry yields and net returns using a split-split-plot design. An ANOVA analysis was run to understand determinants of net returns. Results show that the suppression of wilt through the planting of non-host crops such as broccoli before the planting of strawberries can have significant effects on yield and net returns, and that suppressive crop rotations are potentially commercially viable.

Cover page of Defining the economic scope for ecosystem-based fishery management.

Defining the economic scope for ecosystem-based fishery management.

(2019)

The emergence of ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) has broadened the policy scope of fisheries management by accounting for the biological and ecological connectivity of fisheries. Less attention, however, has been given to the economic connectivity of fisheries. If fishers consider multiple fisheries when deciding where, when, and how much to fish, then management changes in one fishery can generate spillover impacts in other fisheries. Catch-share programs are a popular fisheries management framework that may be particularly prone to generating spillovers given that they typically change fishers' incentives and their subsequent actions. We use data from Alaska fisheries to examine spillovers from each of the main catch-share programs in Alaska. We evaluate changes in participation-a traditional indicator in fisheries economics-in both the catch-share and non-catch-share fisheries. Using network analysis, we also investigate whether catch-share programs change the economic connectivity of fisheries, which can have implications for the socioeconomic resilience and robustness of the ecosystem, and empirically identify the set of fisheries impacted by each Alaska catch-share program. We find that cross-fishery participation spillovers and changes in economic connectivity coincide with some, but not all, catch-share programs. Our findings suggest that economic connectivity and the potential for cross-fishery spillovers deserve serious consideration, especially when designing and evaluating EBFM policies.

Cover page of California cannabis regulation: An overview

California cannabis regulation: An overview

(2019)

In 2016, Proposition 64 decriminalized the possession and use of cannabis by anyone in California aged 21 or over. But the 2015 Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act had begun the process of regulating cannabis in the state.

Cover page of Costs of mandatory cannabis testing in California

Costs of mandatory cannabis testing in California

(2019)

Every batch of cannabis sold legally in California must be tested for more than 100 contaminants. These contaminants include 66 pesticides, for 21 of which the state's tolerance is zero. For many other substances, tolerance levels are much lower than those allowed for food products in California. This article reviews the state's testing regulations in context, including maximum allowable tolerance levels — and uses primary data collected from California's major cannabis testing laboratories and several cannabis testing equipment manufacturers, as well as a variety of expert opinions, to estimate the cost per pound of testing under the state's framework. We also estimate the cost of collecting samples, which depends on the distance between cannabis distributors and laboratories. We find that, if a batch fails mandatory tests, the value of cannabis that must be destroyed accounts for a large share of total testing costs — more than the cost of the tests that laboratories perform. Findings from this article will help readers understand the effects of California's testing regime on the price of legal cannabis in the state — and understand how testing may add value to products that have passed a series of tests that aim to validate their safety.