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Abstract

It is well known that insurance market information asymmetry can cause socially excessive cropping of yield-risky land. We show that crop insurance subsidies can cause the same problem absent information failures. Using field-level yield data, we find an inversed U-shaped relationship between crop prices and crop insurance subsidies’ land-use impacts. For seventeen counties in the U.S. Prairie Pothole Region, simulations show that 0.05% to 3.3% (about 2,600 to 157,900 acres) of land under crop insurance would not have been converted from grassland had premium subsidies not existed. Land-use impacts of Sodsaver in the 2014 Farm Act are also quantified.

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