This study seeks to provide a rigorous theoretical and empirical understanding of the effects of exogenous geographic and climate-related factors on the first three moments of crop yields. We hypothesize that exogenous geographic and climate factors that have beneficial effects on crop production, such as better soils, less overheating damage, more growing season precipitation and irrigation should make crop yield distributions less positively or more negatively skewed. We employ a large crop insurance dataset for corn, soybean, and wheat to find general support for the hypothesis. The novel empirical method optimally uses correlations between the first three moments and thus significantly improves estimation performance over existing methods.


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