Agricultural technology as climate change mitigation in developing countries
One of the economic sectors mostly affected by climate change is agriculture, which makes developing countries, in which farming is the most common occupation, especially vulnerable to climate change. This project will investigate if technical change in agriculture, defined as the development of new high-yielding crop varieties (HYVs), has mitigated negative effects of climate change the last 50 years.
Climate change and agricultural technology have profound effects on society beyond their direct effect on agricultural productivity, as agricultural productivity affects a multitude of economic outcomes, particularly in developing countries.
The project is divided into two parts. The first part, investigates how incomes – and income risk – at local and aggregate levels are affected by the adoption of HYVs, climate change, and their interaction. The second part shifts focuses on demographic effects.
Sub project 1: Income and risk
Higher average annual temperatures and lower average annual precipitation depress average yields in countries that are already warm and arid. Climate change also tends to increase the frequency and severity of droughts, and thereby increases income risk for farmers. For this reason, scientists have been breeding new crop varieties with greater drought tolerance. In this project, Casper Worm Hansen and Asger Mose Wingender study how climate change affects income and income risk, whether the effort to mitigate climate change through selective breeding of crops has been successful, and how agricultural research should be directed in terms crops, crop traits, or ecologies to minimize negative impacts of climate change on income and income risk in poor countries.
Sub project 2: Demographic change and health
Malthusian logic suggests that long-term effects of agricultural productivity growth will increase fertility until a larger population literally eats up the additional food production. However, some evidence point to the contrary: the Green Revolution reduced fertility at the national level. Instead of igniting the so-called “population bomb”, the Green
Revolution helped dismantling it. Yet, it is currently unclear why (and how) the Green Revolution had such demographic effects. The first part of this sub-project aims at filling this gap.
The second part of this sub-project studies effects on human health. Climate change has adverse health effects, particularly for people working in subsistence agriculture. At the same time, recent studies find that agricultural productivity growth, associated with the Green Revolution, reduced infant mortality. By studying these two megatrends jointly, we will be able to disentangle direct health effects of climate change from income effects through lower agricultural productivity.
|Hansen, Casper Worm||Professor||Mortality; Life Expectancy; Demographic Changes; Long-run Economic Growth; Macroeconomics of Development|
|Wingender, Asger Mose||Associate Professor||Economic Growth; Human Capital and Education; Political Institutions; Structural Transformation; Economic History|