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Agricultural risk management policies under climate uncertainty

Global Environmental Change
DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2013.08.007
  • Climate Change
  • Risk Management
  • Adaptation
  • Uncertainty
  • Maxmin
  • Agricultural Insurance
  • Agricultural Science


Abstract Climate change is forecasted to increase the variability of weather conditions and the frequency of extreme events. Due to potential adverse impacts on crop yields it will have implications for demand of agricultural risk management instruments and farmers’ adaptation strategies. Evidence on climate change impacts on crop yield variability and estimates of production risk from farm surveys in Australia, Canada and Spain, are used to analyse the policy choice between three different types of insurance (individual, area-yield and weather index) and ex post payments. The results are found to be subject to strong uncertainties and depend on the risk profile of different farmers and locations; the paper provides several insights on how to analyse these complexities. In general, area yield performs best more often across our countries and scenarios, in particular for the baseline and marginal climate change (without increases in extreme events). However, area yield can be very expensive if farmers have limited information on how climate change affects yields (misalignment in expectations), and particularly so under extreme climate change scenarios. In these more challenging cases, ex post payments perform well to increase low incomes when the risk is systemic like in Australia; Weather index performs well to reduce the welfare costs of risks when the correlation between yields and index is increased by the extreme events. The paper also analyses the robustness of different instruments in the face of limited knowledge of the probabilities of different climate change scenarios; highlighting that this added layer of uncertainty could be overcome to provide sound policy advice under uncertainties introduced by climate change. The role of providing information to farmers on impacts of climate change emerges as a crucial result of this paper as indicated by the significantly higher budgetary expenditures occurring across all instruments when farmers’ expectations are misaligned relative to actual impacts of climate change.

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