Project at a Glance

Title: Economic assessment of the effects of air pollution on agricultural crops in the San Joaquin Valley

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Rowe, Robert

Contractor: Energy and Resource Consultants, Inc.

Contract Number: a2-054-32

Research Program Area: Economic Analysis

Topic Areas: Agriculture, Impacts


This study quantifies the economic value of ozone and sulfur dioxide induced agricultural losses in the San Joaquin Valley of California. In 1978, the economic impact of air pollution on crops in the San Joaquin Valley was estimated to exceed $117 million (in 1978 dollars). Over 98 percent of these losses are attributed to ozone. The economic losses from exceeding the California hourly ozone standard of 10 pphm were $106 million. These estimates are thought to be lower bounds on the economic damages from air pollution, because conservative assumptions and methods were used throughout this analysis.

Yield losses have been estimated for 33 crops, using regression analysis of field data on yields and air pollution, and with the best available chamber study evidence. The field data regression approach was found to provide acceptable non-zero yield loss estimates for only the most sensitive crops; yet, the estimates sometimes varied substantially depending upon the equation specification and ozone measure used.

The California Agricultural Resources (CAR) model was used to estimate economic welfare measures of changes in producers' and consumers' surplus resulting from changes in yields. The CAR model was used to estimate farm costs and behavior change as yields change, including substitution of acreage among crops. It is also used to model the effects of the change in supply upon market price and quantity sold.

For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

Stay involved, sign up with CARB's Research Email Distribution List