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Revisiting the Role of Education for Agricultural Productivity

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Abstract

While the majority of micro studies finds that rural education increases agricultural productivity, various recent cross‐country regressions analyzing the determinants of agricultural productivity were only able to detect an insignificant or even surprisingly negative effect of schooling. In this paper, we show that this failure to find a positive impact of education in the international context appears to be a data problem related to the inappropriate use of enrolment and literacy indicators. Using a panel of 95 developing and middle‐income countries from 1961 to 2002 that includes data on educational attainment, we show that education indeed has a highly significant, positive effect on agricultural productivity which is robust to the use of different control variables, databases and econometric methods. Distinguishing between different levels of education further reveals that only primary and secondary schooling attainment has a significant positive impact while the effect of tertiary education is insignificant. When distinguishing between income groups, our results indicate that even though the coefficient of the education variable is highly significant and positive for all quintiles, the returns to education are higher for the countries belonging to the richest three quintiles. This finding can be interpreted as support for the claim that education will have larger impacts on agricultural productivity in the presence of rapid technical change since it helps farmers to adjust more readily to the new opportunities provided by technological innovations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research in its series Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers with number 214.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 18 Nov 2011
Date of revision: 27 Jul 2012
Handle: RePEc:got:iaidps:214

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

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  1. M. N. Asadullah & S. Rahman, 2009. "Farm productivity and efficiency in rural Bangladesh: the role of education revisited," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(1), pages 17-33.
  2. Lilyan E. Fulginiti & Richard K. Perrin, 1992. "Prices and Productivity in Agriculture," Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) Publications 93-gatt2, Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at Iowa State University.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. RAUF A AzHAR, 1988. "Education and Technical Efficie," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 27(4), pages 687-697.
  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. 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.
  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. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. 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).
  2. 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.

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