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Open Access Publications from the University of California

This series is automatically populated with publications deposited by UC Berkeley 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 Near-term trends in China's coal consumption

Near-term trends in China's coal consumption

(2022)

Coal combustion to power China’s factories, generate electricity, and heat buildings has increased continually since energy use statistics were first published in 1981. From 2013 until 2015, however, this trend reversed and coal use continued to decline from 2,810 million metric tons of coal equivalent (Mtce) to 2,752 Mtce, leading to a levelling off of China’s overall CO2 emissions. Some analysts have declared that China’s coal consumption may have peaked, but preliminary data indicate that coal consumption increased in 2017. This recent growth, combined with our analysis of projected increases in electricity demand that cannot be met by other fossil-fuel or non-fossil-fuel electricity sources, along with projected increases in coal use in light manufacturing, other non-industrial sectors, as well as in coal use for transformation, indicates potential future growth of China’s coal use to levels of 2,908 Mtce to 3,060 Mtce in 2020, with associated increases in energy-related CO2 emissions.

Cover page of SMS Surveys of Selected Expenditures

SMS Surveys of Selected Expenditures

(2022)

High-frequency measures of economic well-being can allow policymakers and researchers to understand and quickly respond to dynamic problems, but collecting such data is expensive. Can short message service (SMS) surveys enable researchers and policymakers to measure household welfare and firm performance at a high frequency in low-income countries? We detail the implementation of two SMS surveys and evaluate their efficacy for gathering high-frequency data. One measures consumption expenditures in Rwanda and the other measures microenterprise revenues in Uganda. We successfully calculate a measure of household welfare for households that respond to the SMS survey in Rwanda and track changes in revenues over time for microenterprises in Uganda. Our SMS surveys are substantially less costly than equivalent in-person surveys; however, nonresponse is a significant problem. We propose combining SMS surveys with in-person data collection to compute weights that correct for nonresponse bias, then evaluate the performance of our method using the revenues data from Uganda.

Cover page of Prescription: Political Preference Functions Versus Social Welfare Functions

Prescription: Political Preference Functions Versus Social Welfare Functions

(2021)

Available evidence taken from the experience of many countries strongly suggests that bad governments and institutions have been serious, if not the most serious, obstacle to economic growth; and all public sectors pursue a mix of both predatory and productive activities—bad governments emphasizing the former, and good governments finding a way of promoting the latter. Depending on your perspective, unfortunately or fortunately, participants in the public-sector policy process generally pay little attention to the advice and counsel of the economics profession. This, in part, is explained by the confusion that emerges from our profession over the role of the public sector. Some would have us believe that the government, or the public sector, is nothing more than a "clearing house" while still others advance frameworks that treat the public sector as a benign pursuer of the public interest.

Cover page of Dynamic Comparative Advantage Analysis of Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Trade Between Latin America and the United States, A

Dynamic Comparative Advantage Analysis of Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Trade Between Latin America and the United States, A

(2021)

In the first of three related papers, the authors analyze the dynamic pattern of comparative advantage in fruit and vegetable trade flows between the United States and Latin America. Their examination of several factors--including market demand, improving investment climates, technological advances, and trade liberalization--indicates a significant potential for the development and expansion of trade flows to meet open windows of opportunity in the United States.

Cover page of Agricultural Trade Liberalization and Capital Flows in the Americas

Agricultural Trade Liberalization and Capital Flows in the Americas

(2021)

In the second of three related papers, the authors develop a model that estimates the effects on prices, outputs, and trade flows arising from the elimination of U.S. import tariffs on contemplate agricultural commodities from Latin America. Eight agricultural commodities and six countries were selected for analysis. The authors also assess how the increased trade flows from Latin America to the United States are likely to create additional investment in the agricultural sector in Latin American countries.

Cover page of Modeling Phased Reduction of Distortionary Policies in the U.S. Wheat Market under Alternative Macroeconomic Environments

Modeling Phased Reduction of Distortionary Policies in the U.S. Wheat Market under Alternative Macroeconomic Environments

(2021)

Throughout much of the developed world, macroeconomic policies afforded a unique period of macroeconomic stability in the two decades following World War II. As a result, concern regarding the macroeconomic linkages with food and agricultural systems largely disappeared. In the early 1970s, with the major changes in monetary policies and central bank behavior, macroeconomic linkages were once again recognized as prime factors complicating the performance of the agricultural and food systems. The roller coaster ride that agriculture experienced over the 1970s and 1980s has been significantly influenced by macroeconomic and international linkages (Rausser et al., 1966). Agriculture's prosperous condition in the 1970s was followed by a recession in the 1980s. This more recent history stands in sharp contrast to the basic stability of the 1950s and 1960s. It is also important to recall that this roller coaster experience of the 1970s and 1980s is not unprecedented. For example, the period from 1900 through 1950 is surprisingly similar to the 1970s; and the late 1920s through the 1930s have some basic characteristics of the 1980s.

Cover page of Private Input Suppliers as Information Agents for Technology Adoption in Agriculture

Private Input Suppliers as Information Agents for Technology Adoption in Agriculture

(2021)

Information frictions limit the adoption of new agricultural technologies in developingcountries. Most public-sector interventions to eliminate these frictions target information directly at select farmers. We show that an information intervention targeted at private input suppliers increases farmer-level adoption by over 50 percent compared to this public-sector approach. These newly informed suppliers become more proactive in carrying the new variety, informing potential customers, and in increasing adoption by those most likely to benefit from the technology. They do so in along-term perspective of reputation building and business development.

Cover page of Performance Evaluation, Influence Activities, and Bureaucratic Work Behavior: Evidence from China

Performance Evaluation, Influence Activities, and Bureaucratic Work Behavior: Evidence from China

(2020)

Subjective performance evaluation is widely used by firms and governments toprovide work incentives. However, delegating evaluation power to local seniorleadership could induce influence activities: agents might devote much effortsto please their supervisors, rather than focusing on productive tasks that benefittheir organizations. We conduct a large-scale randomized field experimentamong Chinese local government employees and provide the first rigorousempirical evidence on the existence and implications of influence activities. Wefind that employees do engage in evaluator-specific influence to affectevaluation outcomes, and that this process can be partly observed by their coworkers.However, introducing uncertainty in the identity of the evaluatordiscourages evaluator-specific influence activities and significantly improves thework performance of local government employees.

Cover page of Reduce, Reuse, Redeem: Deposit-Refund Recycling Programs in the Presence of Alternatives

Reduce, Reuse, Redeem: Deposit-Refund Recycling Programs in the Presence of Alternatives

(2020)

We estimate consumer preferences and willingness to pay for current beverage container recycling methods, including curbside pick-up services, drop-off at government-subsidized recycling centers, and drop-off at non-subsidized centers. Using a representative online and telephone survey of California households, we estimate a discrete choice model that identifies the key attributes explaining consumers’ beverage container disposal decisions: the refund amount (paid to consumers only if they recycle at drop-off centers), the volume of recyclable material generated by the household, and the effort associated with bringing recyclable materials to recycling centers. Additionally, we use counterfactual policy analy- sis to show that increasing the refund amount increases overall recycling rates, with the largest changes in consumer surplus accruing to inframarginal consumers, who are on the boundary between taking containers to recycling centers and recycling using curbside pick-up, namely white and higher income consumers. Conversely, we show that eliminating government-subsidized drop-off centers does not significantly alter consumer surplus for any major demographic group, and has little impact on recycling rates.