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Event Type

Massachusetts Avenue Development Seminars

Climate Change, Crop Yields, and Implications for Food Supply in Africa

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
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Center for Global Development 
and The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies present 
The Massachusetts Avenue Development Seminar (MADS)*

Featuring
Wolfram Schlenker 
School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University 

Moderated by
Michael Clemens
Research Fellow, Center for Global Development

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
12:00pm--1:30pm
Lunch will be served

at
Center for Global Development
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Third Floor, Washington, DC
Closest Metro: Dupont Circle (Red Line)

RSVP ONLINE

Abstract: We use a panel of country-level crop yields in Africa to estimate the relationship between yields and temperature as well as precipitation. Maize, sorghum, millet, and groundnuts are predicted to show significant yield reductions in the medium term even under moderate warming. Our estimation uses the distribution of temperatures within each day at the location a particular crop is grown. Given potential data quality issues for Africa, the predicted temperature response function is contrasted to the one in the United States, where we find robust nonlinear temperature effects, i.e., yields are first increasing in temperature, but decrease sharply once they pass an upper threshold (29C for maize). The slope of the decline above the threshold is much steeper than the incline below it. The increased frequency of temperatures above the upper threshold is responsible for the significant reduction in yields. 

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*The Massachusetts Avenue Development Seminar (MADS) series is an effort by the Center for Global Development and The Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies to take advantage of the incredible concentration of great international development scholars in the Metro Washington, DC area. The series seeks to bring together members of this community and improve communication between them.