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APR: Spring 2019 Articles

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What Affects Firm Location and Firm Employment at State Borders?

Georgeanne M. Artz, Yulong Chen, Liyuan Ma, and Peter F. Orazem (pfo@iastate.edu)
What makes some places grow and some places stagnate or decline? There are many politicians, economic development specialists, and regional planning experts who claim they hold the keys to economic growth, and yet there is great persistence in the strength of local economies over very long time periods. The five states with the lowest labor productivity in 1974 were Mississippi, South Carolina, Vermont, Arkansas, and Maine. By 2015, all of these states were still ranked among the bottom six states. As wages follow labor productivity, these states also ranked among the bottom ten in average earnings per job over the 41-year period. Surely if there were some magic elixir that spurred economic growth, at least one of these states would have broken out from the bottom of the pack. Perhaps the only ones benefiting from the development advice are the advisers.

The Adaptation of Soy-corn Double-cropping to the Brazilian Savanna

Guilherme DePaula (gdepaula@iastate.edu) and Ary Fortes (ary.fortes@embrapa.br)
Two remarkable innovations have enabled Brazilian farmers to compete with the soy and corn exports of their US counterparts—breeding soybean varieties for low latitudes using biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) and the adaptation of a double-cropping soy-corn system for production in the savanna.

Patent Expiration, Product Concentration, and Glyphosate Use: A Tale of Unexpected Consequences

GianCarlo Moschini (moschini@iastate.edu), Edward Perry (edperry@ksu.edu), and David Hennessy (hennes64@msu.edu)
Patents are a powerful tool for asserting intellectual property rights—they offer innovators profitable exclusive rights, thereby providing incentive for critical (and costly) investments in research and development. However, this exclusivity is limited in time. After 20 years (from application), patents expire and generic producers can practice the invention. The enhanced competitiveness of the market typically brings additional benefits to final users. Not much is expected to go wrong when a critical patent on a major product expires—but, as articulated in a recent CARD study, glyphosate provides an unusual tale.

Volatile Prices and Profit Margins

Lee Schulz (lschulz@iastate.edu) and Chad Hart (chart@iastate.edu)
The calendar year 2019 has been interesting for agricultural markets. We began the year with record supplies for all of Iowa’s major commodities. However, trade disputes have cast a cloud over growth in crop and livestock usage and weather events and foreign disease outbreaks have sparked quick reversals in commodity prices. Since the first of the year, corn prices have fluctuated by $1.10 per bushel, soybeans by $1.55 per bushel, hogs by $28 per hundredweight, and cattle by $16 per hundredweight. And we’re still only halfway through the year.