Environment and Development Economics

Climate change and agriculture in Sri Lanka: a Ricardian valuation 1

a1 Yale University, USA
a2 Munasinghe Institute For Development (MIND), Sri Lanka, and Yale University, USA

Article author query
seo sn   [Google Scholar] 
mendelsohn r   [Google Scholar] 
munasinghe m   [Google Scholar] 


This paper measures climate change impacts on Sri Lankan agriculture using the Ricardian method. The model examines the net revenue per hectare of the four most important crops in the country. The limited range of temperature variation allows only a simple test of temperature impacts, but the greater range of precipitation across the country distinguishesmore complex precipitation effects.We then examine the impacts of the climate predictions of five AOGCM models and two simple uniform change scenarios for SriLanka. The impacts of rainfall increases are predicted to be beneficial to the country as a whole in all five AOGCM scenarios, but temperature increases are predicted to be harmful. Nationally, the impacts vary from −11 billion rupees (−20 per cent) to +39 billion rupees (+72 per cent) depending on the climate scenarios. With warming, the already dry regions (the Northern and Eastern provinces), are expected to lose large portions of their current agriculture, but the cooler regions (the central highlands), are predicted to remain the same or increase their output. The paper reconfirms that climate change damages could be large in tropical developing countries, but highly dependent on the actual climate scenario.

(Published Online October 4 2005)

c1 Sung-NoNiggol Seo is a Ph.D. student at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 205 Prospect St., New Haven, CT 06511, USA.
c2 Robert O. Mendelsohn is Edwin. W. Davis Professor at Yale University.
c3 Mohan Munasinghe is Chairman of MIND (Munasinghe Institute for Development), 10/1De fonseka Place, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka and Vice-chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Geneva.


1 This research was made possible due to the assistance of MIND (Munasinghe Institute of Development), Colombo, Sri Lanka. Help provided by Mr U. Sapukotana, Ms Y. Deraniyagala, and staff of MIND in gathering data, is gratefully acknowledged. The authors wish to thank Peter Otis for funding this research and Mr Keisei Ohta, President of Inchemy Chiba in Japan, for his encouragement. We also appreciate the help from Pradeep Kurukulasuriya for drawing the maps in this paper. Three anonymous referees provided very constructive comments on an earlier draft.