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Productivity and Comparative Advantage in Rice Agriculture in South-East Asia Since 1870

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  • Pierre van der Eng

Abstract

Rice long dominated the agricultural economies of South-East Asia. Given the economic predominance of agriculture, the development of rice production had a significant bearing on the economies in the region. This article explains why the countries of mainland South-East Asia long dominated the international rice market. It quantifies labor productivity in rice production and argues that simple, low-cost and labor-extensive, but low-yielding production technology allowed farmers in mainland South-East Asia to achieve significantly higher levels of labor product-ivity than in the more densely populated rice-producing areas in South-East Asia and Japan. High levels of labor productivity were a major source of comparative advantage in rice production for Burma, Thailand and Southern Vietnam. Copyright 2004 East Asian Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by East Asian Economic Association in its journal Asian Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 18 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 345-370

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Handle: RePEc:bla:asiaec:v:18:y:2004:i:4:p:345-370

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