2006

August, 2006

By: Hurley, Sean P.; Miller, Douglas J.; Kliebenstein, James B.
Bid data from a Vickrey auction for pork chops with embedded environmental attributes were analyzed. It was found that approximately 62% of the participants had a positive WTP for the most "environmentally friendly" package of pork. Thirty percent of the participants had no WTP, and 8% had a negative WTP. A polychotomous choice model was used to accommodate data having an anchoring point within the distribution of the data. Standard variables found in the WTP literature coupled with this model were used to predict participants who were premium payers and non-premium payers using an estimated ordered probit equation.

August, 2006

By: Hurley, Terrance M.; Langrock, Ines; Ostlie, Kenneth
This paper estimates farmer benefits for corn rootworm (CRW) active Bt corn and costs of complying with Environmental Protection Agency insect resistance management requirements. The estimates are obtained from farmer survey data that were collected in Minnesota in 2002, just prior to the commercial releases of CRW Bt corn. Benefit estimates range from $14 to $33.4 million, while compliance cost estimated range from $3.5 to $8.7 million depending on whether or not CRW Bt corn also controlled the European corn borer and whether of not it was approved for sale in major export markets.

August, 2006

The objective of this study is to analyze the determinants of private agricultural R&D investment in the United States and the liaison between public and private R&D sectors. The empirical analysis employs U.S. agricultural data for the 1970-1996 period. The results show that federal R&D obligations for basic research, used as a proxy for the complementary role of public R&D, have a significant and positive impact on private agricultural R&D spending. In contrast, federal R&D obligations for applied research, used as a proxy for the substitute role of public R&D, are not found to have a significant impact.

April, 2006

By: Boland, Michael A.; Marsh, Thomas L.
Using 23 years of data (1978-2000), this study examines seven vertically integrated sugar beet plants representing three different companies in the United States. The objective of this research is to identify the marginal costs of producing sugar beets for vertically integrated sugar beet processors as a way of determining the cost savings from higher quality sugar beets. In doing so, we account for quality differences in the sugar beet input that are used to manufacture the refined sugar output. The results quantify links between high quality sugar beets and lower processing costs.

April, 2006

By: Starbird, S. Andrew; Amanor-Boadu, Vincent
One of the goals of inspection and traceability is to motivate suppliers to deliver safer food. The ability of these policies to motivate suppliers depends on the accuracy of the inspection, the cost of failing inspection, the cost of causing a foodborne illness, and the proportion of these costs paid by the supplier. We develop a model of the supplier's expected cost as a function of inspection accuracy, the cost of failure, and the proportion of the failure cost that is allocated to suppliers. The model is used to identify the conditions under which the supplier is motivated to deliver uncontaminated lots. Surprisingly, our results show that when safety failure costs can be allocated to suppliers, minimum levels of inspection error are required to motivate a supplier to deliver uncontaminated lots. This result does not hold when costs cannot be allocated to suppliers. As a case study, we use our results to analyze the technical requirements for suppliers of frozen beef to the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service.

April, 2006

By: Vedenov, Dmitry V.; Duffield, James A.; Wetzstein, Michael E.
Dramatic increases in levels and volatility of gasoline prices observed in recent years may create market incentives for adoption of alternative fuels characterized by lower price volatility. This hypothesis is investigated by applying the real-options pricing approach to develop optimal thresholds for switching from conventional gasoline to alternative fuels such as ethanol blends. The main result of the paper is that given the historical price patterns of conventional gasoline and ethanol, switching to ethanol blends is an economically sound decision provided this does not decrease efficiency of the vehicle. Analysis of data subsamples during the periods of higher volatility of gasoline prices (Gulf War and War on Terrorism) provides even stronger support for this result.

April, 2006

By: Vedenov, Dmitry V.; Miranda, Mario J.; Dismukes, Robert; Glauber, Joseph W.
This paper examines how insurance companies participating in delivery of crop insurance would change patterns of portfolio allocation across reinsurance funds in reaction to the 2005 Standard Reinsurance Agreement. The returns of insurance companies under the SRA are calculated using a simulation model. An heuristic allocation rule is introduced in order to imitate portfolio allocation strategies of participating companies. The main conclusion of the analysis is that the bulk of changes in portfolio allocations are likely to be caused by the introduction of "retained net book quota share" reinsurance rather than adjustments in the cession limits and retention requirements for the Assigned Risk Fund.

April, 2006

By: Racine, Jeffrey S.; Ker, Alan P.
The identification of improved methods for characterizing crop yield densities has experienced a recent surge in activity due in part to the central role played by crop insurance in the Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000 (estimates of yield densities are required for the determination of insurance premium rates). Nonparametric kernel methods have been successfully used to model yield densities; however, traditional kernel methods do not handle the presence of categorical data in a satisfactory manner and have therefore tended to be applied on a county-by-county basis. By utilizing recently developed kernel methods that admit mixed data types, we are able to model the yield density jointly across counties, leading to substantial finite sample efficiency gains. Findings show that when we allow insurance companies to strategically reinsure with the government based on this novel approach they accrue significant rents.

April, 2006

By: Zhou, Mo; Buongiorno, Joseph
A space-time econometric model was developed for pine sawtimber timber prices of 21 geographically contiguous regions in the southern United States. The correlations between prices in neighboring regions helped predict future prices. The impulse response analysis showed that although southern pine sawtimber markets were not globally integrated, local supply and demand shocks did transmit partially to immediate neighboring regions, and could also have weaker effects in more distant regions.