Job Market Paper

Who works "in town" and why? Off-farm labor and farm viability in the United States

This paper estimates the impact of off-farm income in a farm's risk management strategy, while separately identifying how this off-farm income is used differently when it is earned by the primary operator, who in the majority of cases is a man, versus when it is earned by the primary operator's spouse, who is a woman. To estimate these effects, gender- and employment-weighted import shocks provide exogenous variation for the off-farm labor opportunities for men and women within a commuting zone. Import competition from China varies geographically and by industry; the gender composition of each industry also varies across different commuting zones, following the framework for measuring import pressure described by Autor et al. (2013). My analysis connects this import pressure measure with farm-level financial outcomes, including debt repayment capacity utilization and debt-to-asset ratios. Finally, I estimate the impact of off-farm work opportunities on participation in government-sponsored risk management programs, including the Federal Crop Insurance Program.


Margaret Jodlowski, Alex Winter-Nelson, Kathy Baylis, and Pete Goldsmith (2016). Milk in the Data: Food Security Impacts from a Livestock Field Experiment in Zambia, World Development 77: 99-114.

Margaret Jodlowski (2016). Labor Demand Estimation in Rural Madagascar: Shadow Wages and Allocative Inefficiency, Shifting Fortunes and Enduring Poverty in Madagascar: Recent Findings. World Bank Group: 107-138.

Working Papers and Work in Progress

Jennifer Ifft, Margaret Jodlowski, and Todd Kuethe. “Quantity vs. Quality? Federal crop insurance and agricultural credit use.” Revise and resubmit, American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

Jennifer Ifft and Margaret Jodlowski. Is ICE freezing US agriculture? Farm-level adjustment to increased local immigration enforcement.

Jennifer Ifft and Margaret Jodlowski. Federal Crop Insurance participation and on-farm Nitrogen balance.

Andinet Woldemichael, Margaret Jodlowski, and Abebe Shimeles. Labor market flexibility and jobs in select African countries.

Andinet Woldemichael and Margaret Jodlowski. Constraints and firm growth in sub-Saharan Africa.

Daniel P. Bigelow and Margaret Jodlowski. What drives the difference between self-reported land value and land price? A county-level analysis.

Colleta Gandidzanwa and Margaret Jodlowski. “Evolution of agricultural mechanization and its role in agricultural transformation in South Africa: a provincial analysis.”

Daniel P. Bigelow and Margaret Jodlowski. “Ricardian analysis using observed farmland transactions.”

Jennifer Ifft, Margaret Jodlowski, and Maggie Monast. “Does agricultural conservation increase resilience to adverse weather and reduce crop insurance indemnities?: Field-level evidence.”