Adoption of sustainable agriculture

  • What drives the adoption of sustainable agriculture in Turkey?
  • How do the small scale producers respond to the climate change?
  • What is the best institutional setup to facilitate the transition to sustainable farming?

We address these questions by focusing on the adoption of (a) no-till cultivation among wheat farmers, and (b) Better Cotton by cotton farmers. We collaborate with World Wildlife Fund-Turkey, and ETI-BURCAK and IPUD are the funding partners.

The first policy report on no-till agriculture can be found here

Labor market performance of Syrian migrants in Turkey

Using a large dataset on the ISKUR training of thousands of SuTPs and local people and the linked SGK data, we work on estimating the correlates of employment performance of the migrants vs locals. I collaborate with Sırma Demir Şeker and Mirey Ovadiya from the World Bank. One of the takeaways is that SuTPs’ main difficulty in the labor market is to start a job. Once they are in, they are able to compete with the locals, conditioning on similar characteristics such as age, educational level and previous job experience.

Predicting crop yields in Turkey

A new project that aims to predict the crop yields at district level based on historical data, using the climate-related and economic-agronomic variables. I work on a number of predictive spatial statistical modeling strategies to learn from the best available data. The project is at the stage of grant application.

Railroads, agricultural productivity, population growth in Turkey

One key driver of changing economic geography of Turkey during the 20th century was the railroad construction, which were completed by the 1950s. We try to understand the relationship between railroads, agricultural productivity, population growth and urbanization patterns at the district level with possible long-run effects.

A little motivating commentary is from one of the leading intellectuals of the early republican period, İsmail Hüsrev Tökin (Türkiye’de Köy İkstisadiyatı, 1930, 16):

The railroads extending into the heartlands of Anatolia transformed the peasants who had only produced for their own needs into ones producing for the market.

One cannot here miss the connection with the old-age debate on the autarchic vs. markets-based rural economies. Two open questions remain with regard to this comment: first, the historian familiar with the Ottoman economy would detect the weakness of this argument by pointing out that market economies had existed before 20th century- hence the possible path dependency. So Tökin is very Polanyian in over-associating markets with capitalism. Second, the statistician with causality in mind would argue that the areas where markets flourished after railroads could have certain similar characteristics in an hypothetical world.