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Supervision and Transaction Costs: Evidence from Rice Farms in Bicol, the Philippines

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  • Robert E. Evenson

    ()
    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

  • Ayal Kimhi
  • Sanjaya DeSilva
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    Abstract

    Labor markets in all economies are subject to transaction costs associated with recruiting, monitoring and supervising workers. Rural labor markets in developing economies, where institutions such as labor and contract law and formal employment assistance mechanisms are not in place, are regarded to be particularly sensitive to transaction cost conditions. The inherent difficult of measuring transaction costs has limited studies on this topic. In this paper, we analyze supervision activities reported in a cross-section survey of rice farmers in the Bicol region of the Philippines. This survey is unique because it provides supervision data at the farm task level. We present a simple optimization model in which supervision intensity increases the productivity of hired workers, which is assumed to be lower than that of family members due to the transaction costs. The model predicts that supervision intensity will increase with transaction costs. We use different institutional conditions to proxy for transaction costs, and estimate the demand for supervision time for four different classes of rice production tasks. The estimation strategy controls for selectivity in both hiring and supervising. The results show a positive effect of transaction costs on supervision intensity. We then extend the analysis to a farm efficiency specification to test the proposition that supervision activities improve farm efficiency. This framework allows us to relate institutional conditions to farm efficiency directly and indirectly through their effect on supervision activities. We find that transaction costs have a negative direct effect on farm efficiency, but this is partially offset by the positive efficiency effects of increased supervision intensity. The results enable us to associate institutional conditions with transaction costs and to draw policy inferences regarding the value of improved institutional conditions.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp814.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 814.

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    Length: 42 pages
    Date of creation: Apr 2000
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:814

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    Related research

    Keywords: Transaction Costs; Supervision; Labor Markets; Philippines;

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    References

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    1. Frisvold, George B., 1994. "Does supervision matter? Some hypothesis tests using Indian farm-level data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 217-238, April.
    2. Bulow, Jeremy I & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy,Discrimination, and Keynesian Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 376-414, July.
    3. Erica L. Groshen & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "The structure of supervision and pay in hospitals," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 134-146, February.
    4. Meeusen, Wim & van den Broeck, Julien, 1977. "Efficiency Estimation from Cobb-Douglas Production Functions with Composed Error," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 18(2), pages 435-44, June.
    5. K. Kalirajan, 1981. "An Econometric Analysis of Yield Variability in Paddy Production," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 29(3), pages 283-294, November.
    6. Pitt, Mark M. & Lee, Lung-Fei, 1981. "The measurement and sources of technical inefficiency in the Indonesian weaving industry," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 43-64, August.
    7. Reifschneider, David & Stevenson, Rodney, 1991. "Systematic Departures from the Frontier: A Framework for the Analysis of Firm Inefficiency," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(3), pages 715-23, August.
    8. Neal, Derek, 1993. "Supervision and Wages across Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(3), pages 409-17, August.
    9. Bradley T. Ewing & James E. Payne, 1999. "The Trade-Off Between Supervision and Wages: Evidence of Efficiency Wages from the NLSY," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 424-432, October.
    10. Aigner, Dennis & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1977. "Formulation and estimation of stochastic frontier production function models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 21-37, July.
    11. Michael Kevane, 1996. "Agrarian Structure and Agricultural Practice: Typology and Application to Western Sudan," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(1), pages 236-245.
    12. Kumbhakar, Subal C & Ghosh, Soumendra & McGuckin, J Thomas, 1991. "A Generalized Production Frontier Approach for Estimating Determinants of Inefficiency in U.S. Dairy Farms," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 9(3), pages 279-86, July.
    13. Battese, G E & Coelli, T J, 1995. "A Model for Technical Inefficiency Effects in a Stochastic Frontier Production Function for Panel Data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 325-32.
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