Gone with the wind: Measuring the effect of desert locust outbreaks

35 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2022 Last revised: 24 Oct 2022

See all articles by Myriam Marending

Myriam Marending

Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA

Stefano Tripodi

Copenhagen Business School

Date Written: September 22, 2022

Abstract

Desert locust outbreaks and other pests pose a significant threat to food security for millions of people. In this paper, we exploit knowledge of locust swarms’ behaviour, the underlying treatment assignment mechanism, to identify areas likely exposed to the pest, to simulate counterfactual shock exposure, and to measure the causal effect of locust swarms on farm profits. Our identification strategy relies on modelling swarms’ move- ments based on local climatic and environmental characteristics. Through simulations of the flight route using historical values of its determinants, we show that a desert locust shock exhibits systematic geographic variation in its exposure. We compare areas identi- fied as treated to their control counterparts, and propose to condition on their expected exposure to correct for the selection bias. The findings suggest a farm profit loss of around 165% in areas hit by the shock, and a sizeable non random exposure bias.

Keywords: agricultural shocks, desert locust swarms, Development, climate change, farm profits, Ethiopia

JEL Classification: C21, D13, Q12, Q18, Q54

Suggested Citation

Marending, Myriam and Tripodi, Stefano, Gone with the wind: Measuring the effect of desert locust outbreaks (September 22, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3989095 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3989095

Myriam Marending (Contact Author)

Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA ( email )

Rua da Holanda, Nº 1
Carcavelos, 2775-405
Portugal

Stefano Tripodi

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

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