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Climate change impacts on crop yield: Evidence from China

Taoyuan Wei, Todd Cherry, Solveig Glomsrød, Tianyi Zhang

When estimating climate change impact on crop yield, a typical assumption is constant elasticity of yield with respect to a climate variable even though the elasticity may be inconstant. After estimating both constant and inconstant elasticities with respect to temperature and precipitation based on provincial panel data in China 1980-2008, our results show that during that period, the temperature change contributes positively to total yield growth by 1.3% and 0.4% for wheat and rice, respectively, but negatively by 12% for maize. The impacts of precipitation change are marginal. We also compare our estimates with other studies and highlight the implications of the inconstant elasticities for crop yield, harvest and food security. We conclude that climate change impact on crop yield would not be an issue in China if positive impacts of other socio-economic factors continue in the future.

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