David Lobell

Stanford University
Department of Environmental Earth System Science
Y2E2 Bldg - MC4205, 473 Via Ortega, room 367
Stanford, CA 94305

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2011Incorporating Climate Uncertainty into Estimates of Climate Change Impacts, with Applications to U.S. and African Agriculture
with Marshall Burke, John Dykema, Edward Miguel, Shanker Satyanath: w17092
A growing body of economics research projects the effects of global climate change on economic outcomes. Climate scientists often criticize these articles because nearly all ignore the well-established uncertainty in future temperature and rainfall changes, and therefore appear likely to have downward biased standard errors and potentially misleading point estimates. This paper incorporates climate uncertainty into estimates of climate change impacts on U.S. agriculture. Accounting for climate uncertainty leads to a much wider range of projected impacts on agricultural profits, with the 95% confidence interval featuring drops of between 17% to 88%. An application to African agriculture yields similar results.

Published: “Incorporating climate uncertainty into estimates of climate change impacts” (co-authors Marshall Burke, John Dykema, David Lobell, Shanker Satyanath), Review of Economics and Statistics. May 2015, Vol. 97, No. 2

October 2010Climate and Civil War: Is the Relationship Robust?
with Marshall Burke, John Dykema, Edward Miguel, Shanker Satyanath: w16440
A recent paper by Burke et al. (henceforth "we") finds a strong historical relationship between warmer- than-average temperatures and the incidence of civil war in Africa (Burke et al. 2009). These findings have recently been challenged by Buhaug (2010) who finds fault with how we controlled for other potential explanatory variables, how we coded civil wars, and with our choice of historical time period and climate dataset. We demonstrate that Buhaug's proposed method of controlling for confounding variables has serious econometric shortcomings and show that our original findings are robust to the use of different climate data and to alternate codings of major war. Using Buhaug's preferred climate data under sound econometric assumptions yields results that suggest an even stronger relat...
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