NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Corn Production Shocks in 2012 and Beyond: Implications for Harvest Volatility

Steven T. Berry, Michael J. Roberts, Wolfram Schlenker


This chapter is a preliminary draft unless otherwise noted. It may not have been subjected to the formal review process of the NBER. This page will be updated as the chapter is revised.

Chapter in forthcoming NBER book The Economics of Food Price Volatility, Jean-Paul Chavas, David Hummels, and Brian Wright
Conference held August 15-16, 2012
Forthcoming from University of Chicago Press

Corn prices increased sharply in the summer of 2012 due to expected production shortfalls in the United States, which produces roughly 40% of the world’s corn. A heat wave in July adversely affected corn production. We extend earlier statistical models of county-level corn yields in the Eastern United States by allowing the effect of various weather measures to vary in a flexible manner over the growing season: Extreme heat is especially harmful around a third into the growing season. This is the time when the 2012 heat wave hit the Corn Belt. Our most flexible model predicts 2012 corn yields will be 23% below trend, which is close to the observed realization. While extreme heat was significantly above normal, climate change scenarios suggest that the 2012 outcomes will soon be the new normal.

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This paper was revised on July 17, 2013

Acknowledgments and Disclosures

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This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w18659, Corn Production Shocks in 2012 and Beyond: Implications for Food Price Volatility, Steven T. Berry, Michael J. Roberts, Wolfram Schlenker
Commentary on this chapter: Comment, Derek Headey
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