Aslihan Arslan's Home Page

Aslihan Arslan, PhD 

About me: I am a Natural Resource Economist at the Agricultural Development Division (ESA) of the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome since August 2011.  I work on a project entitled "Climate Smart Agriculture: Capturing the synergies between mitigation, adaptation and food security" that aims to support Malawi, Zambia and Vietnam in transitioning to Climate Smart Agriculture.  Before joining FAO, I worked as a post-doctoral research economist at the Poverty Reduction, Equity and Development group of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy in Kiel, Germany. Mr research there covered various topics related to agricultural and rural development, migration, inequality, and poverty.  I received my PhD at the Agricultural and  Resource Economics, UC Davis in December 2007.  My dissertation is titled "Farmers' Subjective Valuation of Subsistence Crops: The Case of Traditional Maize in Mexico" (full copy below). 

Here is my full CV.

Current Projects

Climate Smart Agriculture: Capturing the Synergies between Mitigation, Adaptation and Food Security

I am currently working (as part of the Economic and Policy Innovations for Climate Smart Agriculture (EPIC) team at the Agricultural Development Division (ESA) of FAO) on a  a three year project funded by the European Commission designed to support national efforts on climate smart agriculture (CSA) in order to capture the synergies between mitigation, adaptation and food security in Malawi, Zambia and Vietnam. This project will narrow knowledge and data gaps through use of existing data and the targeted collection, analysis, and modelling of new information and data in order to inform practices, policies, and strategies with the best possible evidence that is relevant to specific country contexts.  It will provide a holistic approach to multiple objectives (food security, mitigation and adaptation) to better align policies and achieve greater cooperation and coordination across national enabling means and action.  One of the main goals of the project is to support the development of national climate-smart strategies that can guide nationally-led action and provide a basis for mobilizing international support -- for example by generating knowledge and experience that could be fed back into the UNFCCC process, especially for the design of enabling mechanisms for CSA that are currently under development.  

On-farm diversification and productivity in rural Mexico: an adaptation strategy to climate change?

with Justin Kagin, UC Davis

Mexico is the center of origin and diversity of maize. Understanding how farmers' incentives for on-farm diversity are changing with changes in the global food markets and climate is key to efficient policy design for conservation of agricultural biodiversity both on- and off-farm. The role of on-farm diversification in helping farmers to manage climate risk has long been recognized in the literature (Fafchamps 1992; Smale et al. 1998).  As climate change threatens to decrease the productivity and increase the variability of production, smallholders face new challenges to adapt their agricultural practices to climate change. This has also implications for food security, especially for smallholders who also depend on their production for food.  This project uses novel nationally representative household panel data and matched historical climate data from rural Mexico to assess the role of on-farm diversification in production and the variability thereof, paying special attention to traditional maize production systems. We also investigate whether and how the role of diversification in production depends on different levels of exposure to climate risk. Rich panel data allow us to control for a range of socio-economic and agro-ecological variables, as well as for unobserved heterogeneity at the household level.  The results have implications for the design of policies that support smallholder adaptation to climate change and food security.

An extension of the first part of the project will analyze how migration out of rural Mexican communities changes the cropping patterns in general and affects on-farm conservation of traditional maize varieties. 

Note: This project is a natural extension of my PhD research both conceptually and empirically. You can find the full version of my dissertation titled "Farmers' Subjective Valuation of Subsistence
Crops: The Case of Traditional Maize in Mexico" is here:  Thesis_main.pdf 

Migration, remittances and inequality: 

I have worked on a DFG funded reserach project analyzing the dynamics between migration, remittances and inequality in rural Mexico. Empirical literature on the effects of migration on inequality delivered conflicting results.  This project analyzed these dynamic linkages using novel panel data  (ENHRUM) with an extensive coverage of migration histories from farm households in rural Mexico.  It was a collaborative project with J. Edward Taylor and  extended his previous research on the same topic based on cross-sectional data. 

In one of the two recent papers we find that migrant networks grew significantly, inducing remittances to switch from being an unequalising income source to being equalising between 2002 and 2007.  This provides supporting evidence for the migration diffusion hypothesis both at the regional and national levels.  Our fixed effects analysis at the village level, however, shows no clear relationship between village migrant networks and inequality.  We find that the growth of remittances in these villages included significant re-ranking and pro-poor components making it hard to detect changes in inequality at the village level.

The second recent paper in this project investigates the implications of whole household migration (i.e. attrition) for the studies of income distribution and poverty using panel data.  I am also working with a PhD Student related to this project (Marcus Boehme) on a paper that will analyze the impacts of remittances on the investment behavior of both recipient and non-recipient households in rural Mexico with special emphasis on selection.

A novel "value capture" strategy for fine coffee: Trademarks:

The Trademarking and Licensing Initiative of the Ethiopian Government is a brand management strategy that aims to improve the recognition of Ethiopian fine coffees and increase farmers' incomes from Sidamo, Harar and Yirgacheffe coffees.  This research analyzes the effects of the Trademarking and Licensing Initiative on the export prices of Sidamo, Harar and Yirgacheffe coffees as compared to coffees from other origins.  During the early stages of the Initiative, Ethiopian government was involved in a court case with Starbucks at the USPTO regarding the trademarking of "Sidamo."  Ethiopian government engaged in a public relations campaign to raise awareness for the Initiative and urge Starbucks to sign the licensing agreement, which was widely publicized in the international media especially after Oxfam organized a public campaign. This paper evaluates the effect of these "interventions" on the export prices of trademarked Ethiopian coffees. We find that the prices of the trademarked coffees increased by about 10% relative to the non-trademarked coffees
following these interventions. The magnitude of this change is comparable with the farm gate prices reported in the literature.  Here is a poster and the working paper of this published work. 

Aslihan Arslan,
Oct 19, 2010, 3:51 AM