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Essays on climate change: Impacts on productivity, and deforestation

Inoussa Boubacar, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation comprises three essays dealing with the economic impacts of climate change and deforestation.^ In the first essay, I use a Just-Pope stochastic production function to econometrically analyze the impacts of acreage, drought, precipitation intensity and degree-days on maize, millet and sorghum yields in Sahel. The maximum likelihood estimators indicate that the direction of the effects of climate variables is similar across crops, but their magnitudes differ. Specifically, drought as measured by a 6-month standardized precipitation index, poor rainfall spread, and degree-days have adverse effects on crop yields. However, the effects of acreage are crop specific. The results are robust to alternative estimation methods.^ The second essay generalizes the first one to encompass the entire agricultural sector. I first estimate a Malmquist productivity index and its efficiency and technical change components. I further assess the statistical significance of the indices by estimating some confidence intervals via a bootstrap method. In the second stage of the analysis, I use a probit model to estimate the extent to which climate variables affect agricultural productivity. It appears that agricultural performance has been disastrous in many Sahelian countries from 1970 to 2000. Using a comparable cross-country measure of drought, I provide evidence that precipitation variability is constraining Sahel's agricultural performance. Lastly, the review of the causes of the impoverishment of the rural population in Sahel reveals that war and drought play a prominent role. ^ In the third essay, using a spatial econometrics approach, I examine the determinants of deforestation in 24 Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries during the period spanning from 1990 to 2004. My results suggest that deforestation in one country is positively related to deforestation in neighboring countries. Moreover, the results confirm the existence of the environmental Kuznets curve with regards to deforestation in SSA. Besides, policies aimed at halting deforestation should be geared towards improving the quality of the institutions and reducing population growth rather than limiting economic growth as suggested by the Neo-Malthusians. Finally, the sub-regional results suggest that the determinants of forest clearing in SSA are region specific.^

Subject Area

Economics, Agricultural|Economics, Theory

Recommended Citation

Boubacar, Inoussa, "Essays on climate change: Impacts on productivity, and deforestation" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3365838.