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Explaining Agricultural Productivity Levels and Growth: An International Perspective

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With persistent population growth, a dwindling supply of arable land per capita, and the relatively high income elasticity of demand for food in developing countries, there is a growing need for food supply increases to originate from growth in productivity rather than expansions in inputs. In this paper the authors construct levels of total factor productivity in agriculture for 111 countries covering the years 1970 to 2000. Employing this data in panel and cross-sectional regressions, the authors seek to explain levels and trends in total factor productivity (TFP) in world agriculture, examining the relative roles of environmental and geographical factors, human capital, macroeconomic factors, technological processes resulting from globalization and the Green Revolution, and institutional factors such as measures of land inequality and proxies for urban biases in public and private expenditure. The authors conclude that, in addition to standard explanations of productivity improvements such as human capital, openness and environmental factors, both urban biases and inequality have been major impediments to successful rural development.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia in its series CEPA Working Papers Series with number WP022005.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:qld:uqcepa:18

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  1. Lau, Lawrence J. & Yotopoulos, Pan A., 1989. "The meta-production function approach to technological change in world agriculture," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 241-269, October.
  2. 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, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(4), pages 1064-1076.
  3. David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000. "Aid, Policies, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
  4. James Murdoch & Todd Sandler, 2002. "Civil wars and economic growth: A regional comparison," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(6), pages 451-464.
  5. Alston, Julian M. & Pardey, Philip G. & Taylor, Michael J., 2001. "Agricultural science policy," Food policy statements, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 32, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  6. Morrison Paul, Catherine J., 2000. "Productivity And Efficiency In The U.S. Food System, Or, Might Cost Factors Support Increasing Mergers And Concentration?," Working Papers, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics 11983, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  7. Ruttan, Vernon W., 2002. "Productivity Growth In World Agriculture: Sources And Constraints," Staff Papers, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics 14176, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
  8. Bhalla, Surjit S & Roy, Prannoy L, 1988. "Mis-specification in Farm Productivity Analysis: The Role of Land Quality," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(1), pages 55-73, March.
  9. Mattias Lundberg & Lyn Squire, 2003. "The simultaneous evolution of growth and inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(487), pages 326-344, 04.
  10. Prahladachar, M., 1983. "Income distribution effects of the green revolution in India: A review of empirical evidence," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 11(11), pages 927-944, November.
  11. Sachs, J-D & Warner, A-M, 1995. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," Papers, Harvard - Institute for International Development 517a, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  12. Fare, Rolf, et al, 1993. "Derivation of Shadow Prices for Undesirable Outputs: A Distance Function Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 374-80, May.
  13. Oulton,Nicholas & O'Mahony,Mary, 1994. "Productivity and Growth," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521453455.
  14. Fulginiti, Lilyan E. & Perrin, Richard K., 1997. "LDC agriculture: Nonparametric Malmquist productivity indexes," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 373-390, August.
  15. Kawagoe, Toshihiko & Hayami, Yujiro & Ruttan, Vernon W., 1985. "The intercountry agricultural production function and productivity differences among countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 113-132.
  16. van Ark, Bart, 2002. "Measuring the New Economy: An International Comparative Perspective," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(1), pages 1-14, March.
  17. Alauddin, Mohammad, 2004. "Environmentalizing economic development: a South Asian perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 51(3-4), pages 251-270, December.
  18. Hayami, Yujiro & Ruttan, Vernon W, 1970. "Agricultural Productivity Differences Among Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 60(5), pages 895-911, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Carlos Ludena, 2010. "Agricultural Productivity Growth, Efficiency Change and Technical Progress in Latin America and the Caribbean," Research Department Publications, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department 4675, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  2. Boubacar, Inoussa, 2010. "Agricultural Productivity, Drought, and Economic Growth in Sahel," 2010 Annual Meeting, February 6-9, 2010, Orlando, Florida, Southern Agricultural Economics Association 56321, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
  3. Sipilainen, Timo & Kuosmanen, Timo & Kumbhakar, Subal C., 2008. "Measuring productivity differentials – An application to milk production in Nordic countries," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium, European Association of Agricultural Economists 44277, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  4. Derek D. Headey & Dirk Bezemer, 2006. "Something of a Paradox: The Curious Neglect of Agriculture in Development," CEPA Working Papers Series, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia WP012006, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  5. Trindade, Federico J., 2012. "Is there a Slowdown in Agricultural Productivity Growth in South America?," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, International Association of Agricultural Economists 126915, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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