Worldwide, crop production is intrinsically intertwined with biological, environmental and economic systems, all of which involve complex, inter-related and spatially-sensitive phenomena. Thus knowing the location of agriculture matters much for a host of reasons.
Pixelating Crop Production: Consequences of Methodological Choices
Joglekar, A.K., Wood-Sichra, U. and Pardey, P.G., 2019. Pixelating crop production: Consequences of methodological choices. PloS one, 14(2), p.e0212281.
Worldwide, crop production is intrinsically intertwined with biological, environmental and economic systems, all of which involve complex, inter-related and spatially-sensitive phenomena. Thus knowing the location of agriculture matters much for a host of reasons. There are several widely cited attempts to model the spatial pattern of crop production worldwide, not least by pixilating crop production statistics originally reported on an areal (administrative boundary) basis. However, these modeled measures have had little scrutiny regarding the robustness of their results to alternative data and modeling choices. Our research casts a critical eye over the nature and empirical plausibility of these types of datasets. To do so, we determine the sensitivity of the 2005 variant of the spatial production allocation model data series (SPAM2005) to eight methodological-cum-data choices in nine agriculturally-large and developmentally-variable countries: Brazil, China, Ethiopia, France, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey and the United States. We compare the original published estimates with those obtained from a series of robustness tests using various aggregations of the pixelized spatial production indicators (specifically, commodity-specific harvested area, production quantity and yield). Spatial similarity is empirically assessed using a pixel-level spatial similarity index (SSI). We find that the SPAM2005 estimates are most dependent on the degree of disaggregation of the underlying national and subnational production statistics. The results are also somewhat sensitive to the use of a simple spatial allocation method based solely on cropland proportions versus a cross-entropy allocation method, as well as the set of crops or crop aggregates being modeled, and are least sensitive to the inclusion of crude economic elements. Finally, we assess the spatial concordance between the SPAM2005 estimates of the area harvested of major crops in the United States and pixelated measures derived from remote-sensed data.
Moving Matters: The Effect of Location on Crop Production
Beddow, J.M. and Pardey, P.G., 2015. Moving matters: the effect of location on crop production. The Journal of Economic History, 75(1), pp.219-249.
U.S corn output increased from 1.8 billion bushels in 1879 to 12.7 billion bushels in 2007. Concurrently, the footprint of production changed substantially. Failure to take proper account of movements means that productivity assessments likely misattribute sources of growth and climate change studies likely overestimate impacts. Our new spatial output indexes show that 16 to 21 percent of the increase in U.S. corn output over the 128 years beginning in 1879 was attributable to spatial movement in production. This long-run perspective provides historical precedent for how much agriculture might adjust to future changes in climate and technology.