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Revisiting the Role of Education for Agricultural Productivity

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  • Malte Reimers

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

  • Stephan Klasen

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

Abstract

While the majority of micro studies finds that rural education increases agricultural productivity, various recent cross-country regressions analysing the determinants of agricultural productivity were only able to detect insignificant or even surprising negative effects of schooling. In this paper, we argue and show that this failure to find a positive impact of education in the international context is rather a data problem related to the use of enrolment and literacy indicators. Using a panel of 95 developing and middle-income countries from 1961 to 2002 together with the newest version of the Barro-Lee educational attainment dataset, we show that education indeed has a highly significant, positive effect on agricultural productivity which is robust to changes in the control variables and in the econometric methods applied. Distinguishing between different levels of education further reveals that only primary and secondary schooling have significant positive impacts while tertiary education remains insignificant. Finally, the effect of education is estimated separately for countries with different income levels. Results indicate that the coefficient of the education variable remains insignificant for countries from the poorest three income quintiles, while it is positive and highly significant for the richest two quintiles. This finding can be interpreted as support for the prominent argument claiming that education leads to higher agricultural productivity only in the presence of rapid technical change where education will help farmers to adjust more readily to the new opportunities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Courant Research Centre PEG in its series Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers with number 90.

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Date of creation: 26 Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:090

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Keywords: Agricultural productivity; agricultural production function; cross‐country regression; education; human capital;

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  1. Kawagoe, Toshihiko & Hayami, Yujiro & Ruttan, Vernon W., 1985. "The intercountry agricultural production function and productivity differences among countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 113-132.
  2. Lockheed, Marlaine E & Jamison, Dean T & Lau, Lawrence J, 1980. "Farmer Education and Farm Efficiency: A Survey," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 37-76, October.
  3. Fulginiti, Lilyan E. & Perrin, Richard K., 1992. "Prices and Productivity in Agriculture," Staff General Research Papers 543, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. Asadullah, M. Niaz & Rahman, Sanzidur, 2006. "Farm Productivity and Efficiency in Rural Bangladesh: The Role of Education Revisited," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25482, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  5. Asfaw, Abay & Admassie, Assefa, 2004. "The role of education on the adoption of chemical fertiliser under different socioeconomic environments in Ethiopia," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 30(3), pages 215-228, May.
  6. Yang, Dennis T. & An, Mark Yuying, 1997. "Human Capital, Entrereneurship, and Farm Household Earnings," Working Papers 97-03, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  7. Jolliffe, Dean, 2004. "The impact of education in rural Ghana: examining household labor allocation and returns on and off the farm," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 287-314, February.
  8. Lau, Lawrence J. & Yotopoulos, Pan A., 1989. "The meta-production function approach to technological change in world agriculture," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 241-269, October.
  9. Wouterse, Fleur, 2011. "Social services, human capital, and technical efficiency of smallholders in Burkina Faso:," IFPRI discussion papers 1068, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  10. RAUF A AzHAR, 1988. "Education and Technical Efficie," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 27(4), pages 687-697.
  11. Barbara J. Craig & Philip G. Pardey & Johannes Roseboom, 1997. "International Productivity Patterns: Accounting for Input Quality, Infrastructure, and Research," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(4), pages 1064-1076.
  12. Frisvold, George & Ingram, Kevin, 1995. "Sources of agricultural productivity growth and stagnation in sub-Saharan Africa," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 51-61, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Klasen, Stephan & Reimers, Malte, 2013. "Looking at Pro-Poor Growth from an Agricultural Perspective," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 149745, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  2. Goensch, Iris, 2013. "Does the availability of secondary schools increase primary schooling? Empirical evidence from northern Senegal," Discussion Papers 63, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Center for international Development and Environmental Research (ZEU).

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