Developing Climate-Smart Agriculture Policies: The Role of Economic Modeling

Developing Climate-Smart Agriculture Policies: The Role of Economic Modeling

An array of policies and programs could potentially be considered climate smart, but for the purposes of this paper, we define climate-smart agriculture as an approach that strives to meet the following criteria: 

(1) increase agricultural productivity in a sustainable manner,
(2) improve the resilience of agricultural production and food systems to environmental change, or
(3) reduce net greenhouse gas emissions associated with the agriculture
and forestry sectors. This definition encompasses, but goes beyond, the traditional agricultural development policy concerns of increasing incomes and reducing rural poverty, thus increasing the complexity of the policy agenda and modeling that supports policy-making. 

The goal of the paper is to provide policymakers and program designers with an overview of the primary types of economic models that could be used to inform policy design and implementation. The most specific
audience for the paper is international development practitioners who design projects, pilots, and other efforts to advance climate-smart agriculture, and who may wish to inject modeling sensibilities and approaches into such efforts. 

The readership of the paper is assumed to be subject matter specialists and generalists who are not economists but may need to consume the results of economic modeling. We describe alternative economic modeling approaches relevant for analyses of climate-smart agriculture approaches and provide general principles for selecting an approach for a specific application.

Massoud Moussavi

Massoud Moussavi is the Founder and Managing Director of Causal Links. He has more than 20 years of experience at the World Bank where he developed frameworks and models to estimate the impact and effectiveness of various policy options in a range of topics from education planning to risk assessment in banking.

Luis Crouch

RTI Senior Economist, International Development Group. Luis Crouch, PhD, is a recognized international leader in providing high-level advice to governments involved in complex educational systems change. From 2011 to 2013, Dr. Crouch served with the Global Partnership for Education Secretariat as head of the Global Good Practices Team.

Daniel Lapidus

Senior Economist and Policy Analyst RTI. Daniel Lapidus has more than a decade of experience managing international rural development and natural resource management programs, focusing on the intersection of agriculture and climate change

Dileep Birur

Associate Director at Clean Energy and Sustainability Analytics Center, Montclair State University.

Robert Beach

RTI Fellow, Agricultural, Resource & Energy Economics and Policy Program

Eleanor Turner

MSc, Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University. BA, Economics and Spanish, Cornell University