Crop Yield Skewness under Law of the Minimum Technology

Posted: 17 Jan 2009

See all articles by David A. Hennessy

David A. Hennessy

Iowa State University - Department of Economics


No satisfactory motivation has been forwarded in favor of any crop yield distribution, including the normal. This article explores the foundations of yield distributions for the Law of the Minimum resource constraint technology at the plot level of analysis. With independent, identical, uniform resource availability distributions the yield skew is positive, whereas it is negative whenever the distributions are normal. Simulations show how asymmetries in resource availabilities determine skewness. It is suggested that a negative yield skew occurs whenever production is tightly controlled so that the left tails of some resources availabilities distributions are thin. Irrigation may increase yield skewness.

Suggested Citation

Hennessy, David A., Crop Yield Skewness under Law of the Minimum Technology. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 91, No. 1, pp. 197-208, February 2009, Available at SSRN: or

David A. Hennessy (Contact Author)

Iowa State University - Department of Economics ( email )

260 Heady Hall
Ames, IA 50011
United States
515-294-6171 (Phone)

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