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Modeling US Counties: Innovation Capacity with a Focus on Natural Amenities

May 12, 2011 Comments off

Modeling US Counties: Innovation Capacity with a Focus on Natural Amenities (PDF)
Source: Agricultural & Applied Economics Association

Regional innovation capacity becomes an important factor to enhance regional competitive advantages as the U.S. is building a knowledge-based economy.

In the past few decades, measuring innovation capacity using numerous methods have been attempted:

  • R&D expenditure
  • Patent counts
  • Employment in high-tech industry

      The key issue is that innovation capacity varies widely over regions

      • Previous literature have tried to explain these differences but conclusive empirical evidences are not provided.
      • One of crucial factors to affect the regional innovation capacity is (natural) amenity and it can explain variation in innovation capacities.
      • The association between natural and built-in amenities with the overall quality of life and economic growth patterns has been well established within the development literature (e.g., Deller et al., 2001; Deller et al., 2008).

      However, somewhat surprisingly, the relationship between innovation capacity and amenity has not been quantified and analyzed rigorously

      • The intent of this study is to address these connections while focusing on the potential value of amenities
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The United States Tobacco Industry after the Buyout

February 9, 2011 Comments off

The United States Tobacco Industry after the Buyout

Source:  Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

The elimination of the quota and price support program in 2004 meant limited government intervention and made U.S. tobacco producers more vulnerable to market risks. In this paper we provide an examination of the situation in the U.S. tobacco industry before and after the buyout and identify how the enacted policy change affected the U.S. tobacco industry in terms of supply and demand. The supply and demand system is estimated using the generalized method of moments (GMM). The results suggest that the buyout, which began with lowering the price for tobacco as well as increasing the cost of production, had a negative impact on the number of farmers in the United States as it declined substantially after 2004. However, tobacco producers who remained in the industry apparently became more efficient and more competitive on the world tobacco market in the face of lower tobacco prices. Improved overall competitiveness of the U.S. tobacco industry along with changes in U.S. consumer tastes and preferences for less consumption of tobacco products resulted in an increase in U.S. exports of tobacco leaf after the elimination of the government policy.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Taxpayer Preferences for Farm Policy and USDA Budget Expenditures

February 9, 2011 Comments off

Taxpayer Preferences for Farm Policy and USDA Budget Expenditures

Source:  Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

Current debates on food and farm policy would benefit from an improved understanding of the public’s demand for the services provided by the USDA. We determine taxpayer’s preferences for six categories of USDA expenditures using data from a nationwide survey of almost 1,200 taxpayers. We find that taxpayers believe food safety and inspection is the most important service provided by the USDA. Although there is significant heterogeneity in people’s preferences, our results reveal that at current expenditure levels, most consumers are willing to give up some of the outcomes and benefits provided by expenditures on farm support programs to obtain more of the benefits and services provided by expenditures on food safety and inspection, natural resources and environment, research and education, and rural development. However, the opposite is true of food assistance programs; most taxpayers would support a reallocation of USDA expenditures away from food assistance toward farm support programs.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Seawater Desalination for Municipal Water Production

February 9, 2011 Comments off

Seawater Desalination for Municipal Water Production

Source:  Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

This paper examines the optimal allocation of several inputs in the context of seawater desalination by reverse osmosis (RO) as a source of municipal (or commercial or industrial) water. A cost-minimization model is developed, a production function is estimated, and sensitivity analyses are conducted using the optimization model to investigate the effect of environmental conditions and economic factors on the optimal input portfolio and the cost of operating a modeled seawater desalination facility. The objectives of this paper are to better understand the effect on the seawater desalination facility’s costs and input portfolio from changes in water quality, membrane lifespan, daily operations schedule, and energy prices. Findings include that lower total facility costs are associated with warm-weather water quality parameters, longer membrane life, and mid-range daily operations schedule (14.265 hours/day). Under most conditions, an interruptible power supply regime reduces facility costs. Exceptions include when the interruptible power supply regime implies significant reductions in operating hours and the associated reduction in energy price is very small.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

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