Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #242

The Diffusion of Cattle Ranching and Deforestation – Prospects for a Hollow Frontier in Mexico’s Yucatán

by Christopher B. Busch and Colin Vance

RWI, 02/2011, 30 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-278-1



This article investigates the behavioral drivers of pasture creation and associated implications for deforestation in a 22,000 km2 agricultural frontier spanning the base of Mexico‘s southern Yucatán. After developing a theoretical model that highlights the role of social networks and information spillovers with respect to the decision to begin cattle ranching, we use household data to estimate an econometric duration model of the determinants of pasture creation. Although pasture fi ts well with the typical household‘s resource constraints, its continued expansion contributes to a hollow frontier dynamic in which the spread of low-value cattle ranching coincides with decreasing population.

JEL-Classification: Q15, R22

Keywords: Pasture creation; information spillovers; duration analysis; farm households; Mexico

Published as:

Busch, C. and C. Vance (2011), The Diffusion of Cattle Ranching and Deforestation: Prospects for a Hollow Frontier in Mexico's Yucatán. Land Economics 87 (4): 682-698.