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Coautor: Matthew Kahn (John Hopkins University)
The farming sector's productivity is tied to local climate conditions. As climate change shifts weather, farmers will suffer larger profit losses if they are slow to adapt. We present a model featuring heterogeneous farmers who choose to invest in costly climate adaptation. At a point in time, the highest ability farmers will have already prepared for the current climate conditions while those who gain less from such investments will adapt more slowly. The model highlights the key role that essential heterogeneity plays in determining the relationship between climate conditions and aggregate county level farm output. Relaxing the representative agent assumption introduces several new testable implications of the adaptation hypothesis and points to frictions that limit the extent of adaptation.