In this paper we first construct a theoretical model of land use by swidden cultivators when these cultivators can choose whether to grow a cash crop or a food/subsistence crop. Second, we study the land quality accumulation decision faced by shifting cultivators and, in the process, we show how to compute the optimal length of time during which cleared land is to be left fallow. Finally, we investigate the implications that the optimal land quality accumulation decision has for the relative price of the food crop in particular and slash and burn agriculture in general.

Publication Date



This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Applied Economics Letters in 2003, published online on 04 June 2010, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1350485032000148259

Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Department of Economics (CLA)


RIT – Main Campus