Hennessy, David A.

By: Miao, Ruiqing; Hennessy, David A.; Feng, Hongli
It is well known that insurance market information asymmetry can cause socially excessive cropping of yield-risky land. We show that crop insurance subsidies can cause the same problem absent information failures. Using field-level yield data, we find an inversed U-shaped relationship between crop prices and crop insurance subsidies’ land-use impacts. For seventeen counties in the U.S. Prairie Pothole Region, simulations show that 0.05% to 3.3% (about 2,600 to 157,900 acres) of land under crop insurance would not have been converted from grassland had premium subsidies not existed. Land-use impacts of Sodsaver in the 2014 Farm Act are also quantified.
By: Hennessy, David A.
The use of plausible stochastic price processes in price risk analysis has allowed advances not seen in crop yield risk analysis. This study develops a stochastic process for yield modeling and risk management. The Pólya urn process is an internally consistent dynamic representation of yield expectations over a growing season that accommodates agronomic events such as growing degree days. The limiting distribution is the commonly used beta distribution. Binomial tree analysis of the process allows us to explore hedging decisions and crop valuation. The method is empirically flexible to accommodate alternative assumptions on the growing environment, such as intra-season input decisions.
By: Hennessy, David A.
Empirical studies point to negative crop yield skewness, but the literature provides few clear insights as to why. This paper formalizes three points on the matter. Statistical laws on aggregates do not imply a normal distribution. Whenever the weather-conditioned mean yield has diminishing marginal product with respect to a weather-conditioning index, then there is a disposition toward negative yield skewness. This is because high marginal product in bad weather stretches out the yield distribution's left tail relative to that for weather. For disaggregated yields, unconditional skewness is decomposed into weather-conditioned skewness plus two other terms and each is studied in turn.
By: Hennessy, David A.
Feeder animal prices depend on fed animal prices, the biological growth technology, and feed costs. In addition, daily maintenance costs can be avoided through accelerated feeding. These observations allow us to model optimal feeding under equilibrium feeder animal pricing. Our model enables a better understanding of regulation in feedstuff markets. The feeder animal price-weight schedule is likely decreasing and convex in weight. Prices for animals with better growth potential should be less sensitive to feed and fed animal prices. Prices for lighter animals should be more sensitive to these prices. Regression analyses on Southern Great Plains cattle prices provide support for this model.
By: Hennessy, David A.; Saak, Alexander E.
Suppose a farmer had to apply a herbicide pre-emergence or not at all. The advent of a herbicide-tolerance trait innovation then provides the option to wait for more information before making a state-contingent post-emergence application. This option to wait can increase or decrease average herbicide use. For heterogeneous acre types, trait royalties increase with the level of uncertainty about the extent of weed damage. Royalties are largest when acre infestation susceptibility types are bunched around the type indifferent to applying the herbicide in the absence of the trait. The trait complements (substitutes for) information technologies that facilitate informed post-emergence (pre-emergence) decisions.
By: Roosen, Jutta; Hennessy, David A.
Antibiotics are used in fruit production to control fire blight, a bacterial disease of fruit trees that causes yield losses and eventually tree death. Fearing the development of widespread antibiotic resistance, scientists and public health officials are becoming increasingly concerned about antibiotics use in agriculture. A framework is developed for assessing the impacts of changes in tree damage risk following a ban on antibiotics use in the apple industry. Allowing for entry and exit, a long-run analysis of replanting dates and equilibrium prices is provided, as well as an estimate of the welfare impacts of a ban on antibiotics.
By: Roosen, Jutta; Fox, John A.; Hennessy, David A.; Schreiber, Alan
Economic assessments of pesticide regulations typically focus on producer impacts and generally ignore possible changes in product demand. These changes may be nonnegligible if real and/or perceived product attributes change. We measure consumers' willingness to pay (WTP) for the elimination of one insecticide and also a whole group of insecticides in apple production using a multiple-round Vickrey auction. The data are analyzed using nonparametric statistical tests and a double-hurdle model. Our findings show that consumer perceptions of product attributes change if pesticides are removed from production, and this is reflected in WTP changes. WTP is shown to be income elastic.