Human and Physical Capitals as Farm Adaptation Capacity to Climate Change

Shinsuke Uchida

Open seminar with Associate Professor Shinsuke Uchida, Nagoya City University.

Dr. Uchida is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Economics at Nagoya City University, and a Visiting Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Economics (Research Center for Policy Design) at Tohoku University.

Dr. Uchida's research fields are environmental and resource economics and applied econometrics. He has conducted research within the areas of climate change and adaptation, natural disasters, agriculture and environment, and environment and economic growth.

During this seminar, Dr. Uchida will present his recent study "Human and Physical Capitals as Farm Adaptation Capacity to Climate Change: Evidence from Corn Yields in US”.


The study aims to quantify how farmers’ ability and farm technology influence the adaptive capacity of farm production to extreme weather. Specifically, we investigate how farmers' age and irrigation use reduce the negative effects of extreme temperatures on crop yields. 

Aging lowers cognitive and physical skills that could augment productivity under risk. Aging also functions as a barrier to the adoption of new climate-resilient technologies because new technologies are too complex, or near-retirement farmers are less likely to invest in them.

On the other hand, aging has a positive aspect on production as farmers accumulate more experiences and knowledge from learning-by-doing. We also explore how the farmer’s ability and the farm technology influence the adaptive capacity simultaneously.

We conducted the empirical analysis by introducing farmer age and irrigation use in estimating the temperature effects on corn yields in the US. We find that both of them are significant factors that enhance farmers’ adaptive capacity. An increase in irrigation use decreases yield losses due to extremely warm temperatures.

Age nonlinearly influences farmers’ capacity to reduce such negative temperature effects in non-irrigated areas: Farmers at the age of 50s are most capable of reducing the negative temperature effects, while such capacity diminishes as they get younger/older. In contrast, a similar age effect is not observed in irrigated areas.

This indicates that climate risk from low adaptive capacity by the shortage of human capital is mitigated by physical capital.