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Agricultural Change and Population Growth: District-Level Evidence From India

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  • Witcover, Julie
  • Vosti, Stephen A.
  • Lipton, Michael

Abstract

Green Revolution technologies were developed and promoted in the 1960s in response to alarm about impending famine in Asia. By boosting food supplies and fostering development, the technologies were expected to create "breathing space" for completing demographic transitions there. This paper uses District-level data from rural India on agricultural transformation (from 1961 to 1981) and on changes in human fertility (from 1971 to 1981) to examine whether they did so. In a reduced form model, female literacy and marriage rates emerged as strong fertility change determinants; effects varied by age cohort. Growth in real wages in rural areas, in part brought about by HYV technologies, accelerated fertility declines. With real wage growth effects of Green Revolution technologies controlled for, faster diffusion of wheat and rice HYV each led to faster fertility declines; greater diffusion of bajra (millet) HYV was associated with smaller fertility declines. Policy action to enhance fertility declines may be worthwhile regardless of agricultural sector goals, but policymakers should be aware of direct and indirect effects of agricultural intensification policies on human fertility.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia with number 25443.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae06:25443

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Keywords: International Development; Q16; J1; Q18; D1; O3;

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  1. Richard A. Easterlin, 1980. "Population and Economic Change in Developing Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number east80-1, octubre-d.
  2. Gary S. Becker & H. Gregg Lewis, 1974. "Interaction between Quantity and Quality of Children," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 81-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jayasuriya, S. K. & Shand, R. T., 1986. "Technical change and labor absorption in Asian agriculture: Some emerging trends," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 415-428, March.
  4. Easterlin, Richard A. & Crimmins, Eileen M., 1985. "The Fertility Revolution," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226180298, April.
  5. Rosegrant, Mark W. & Paisner, Michael S. & Meijer, Siet & Witcover, Julie, 2001. "2020 Global food outlook," Food policy reports 30, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  6. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1996. "Technical Change and Human-Capital Returns and Investments: Evidence from the Green Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 931-53, September.
  7. Christophe Z. Guilmoto & S. Irudaya Rajan, 2001. "Spatial Patterns of Fertility Transition in Indian Districts," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(4), pages 713-738.
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