Testing for Complementarity: Glyphosate Tolerant Soybeans and Conservation Tillage

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2016-04-01
Authors
Perry, Edward
Hennessy, David
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Moschini, Giancarlo
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Economics

The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 to teach economic theory as a truth of industrial life, and was very much concerned with applying economics to business and industry, particularly agriculture. Between 1910 and 1967 it showed the growing influence of other social studies, such as sociology, history, and political science. Today it encompasses the majors of Agricultural Business (preparing for agricultural finance and management), Business Economics, and Economics (for advanced studies in business or economics or for careers in financing, management, insurance, etc).

History
The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 under the Division of Industrial Science (later College of Liberal Arts and Sciences); it became co-directed by the Division of Agriculture in 1919. In 1910 it became the Department of Economics and Political Science. In 1913 it became the Department of Applied Economics and Social Science; in 1924 it became the Department of Economics, History, and Sociology; in 1931 it became the Department of Economics and Sociology. In 1967 it became the Department of Economics, and in 2007 it became co-directed by the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Business.

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1898–present

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  • Department of Economic Science (1898–1910)
  • Department of Economics and Political Science (1910-1913)
  • Department of Applied Economics and Social Science (1913–1924)
  • Department of Economics, History and Sociology (1924–1931)
  • Department of Economics and Sociology (1931–1967)

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Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) conducts innovative public policy and economic research on agricultural, environmental, and food issues. CARD uniquely combines academic excellence with engagement and anticipatory thinking to inform and benefit society.

CARD researchers develop and apply economic theory, quantitative methods, and interdisciplinary approaches to create relevant knowledge. Communication efforts target state and federal policymakers; the research community; agricultural, food, and environmental groups; individual decision-makers; and international audiences.

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Abstract

Many decisions in agriculture are made over combinations of inputs and/or practices that may form a technology system linked through complementarity. The presence of complementarity among producer decisions can have far-reaching implications for market outcomes and for the effectiveness of policies intended to influence them. Identifying complementarity relations, however, is made difficult by the presence of unobserved heterogeneity. Drawing on recent methodological advances, in this paper we develop a test for complementarity between glyphosate tolerant soybeans and conservation tillage that overcomes certain limitations of previous studies. Specifically, we develop a structural discrete choice framework of joint soybean-tillage adoption that explicitly models both complementarity and the correlation induced by unobserved heterogeneity. The model is estimated with a large unbalanced panel of farm-level choices spanning the 1998–2011 period. We find that glyphosate tolerant soybeans and conservation tillage are complementary practices. In addition, our estimation shows that farm operation scale promotes the adoption of both conservation tillage and glyphosate tolerant seed, and that all of higher fuel prices, more droughty conditions, and soil erodibility increase use of conservation tillage. We apply our results to simulate annual adoption rates for both conservation tillage and no-tillage in a scenario without glyphosate tolerant soybeans available as a choice. We find that the adoption of conservation tillage and no-tillage have been about 10% and 20% higher, respectively, due to the advent of glyphosate tolerant soybeans.

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This is a working paper of an article from American Journal of Agricultural Economics 98 (2016): 765, doi: 10.1093/ajae/aaw001.

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