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Agricultural Productivity Differences across Countries

Author

Listed:
  • Douglas Gollin
  • David Lagakos
  • Michael E. Waugh

Abstract

Recent studies argue that cross-country labor productivity differences are much larger in agriculture than in the aggregate. We reexamine the agricultural productivity data underlying this conclusion using new evidence from disaggregate sources. We find that for the world's staple grains—maize, rice, and wheat—cross-country differences in the quantity of grain produced per worker are enormous according to both micro- and macrosources. Our findings validate the idea that understanding agricultural productivity is at the heart of understanding world income inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Gollin & David Lagakos & Michael E. Waugh, 2014. "Agricultural Productivity Differences across Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 165-170, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:5:p:165-70
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.5.165
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ragasa, Catherine & Dankyi, Awere & Acheampong, Patricia & Wiredu, Alexander Nimo & Chapoto, Antony & Asamoah, Marian & Tripp, Robert, 2013. "Patterns of adoption of improved rice technologies in Ghana:," GSSP working papers 35, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Restuccia, Diego & Yang, Dennis Tao & Zhu, Xiaodong, 2008. "Agriculture and aggregate productivity: A quantitative cross-country analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 234-250, March.
    3. Foreman, Linda F., 2006. "Characteristics and Production Costs of U.S. Corn Farms, 2001," Economic Information Bulletin 7205, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    4. Short, Sara D. & Livezey, Janet S., 2004. "Characteristics and Production Costs," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, April.
    5. Berthold Herrendorf & Todd Schoellman, 2015. "Why is Measured Productivity so Low in Agriculture?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(4), pages 1003-1022, October.
    6. Burke, William J. & Hichaambwa, Munguzwe & Banda, Dingiswayo & Jayne, Thomas S., 2011. "The Cost of Maize Production by Smallholder Farmers in Zambia," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 148682, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    7. Jikun Huang & Fangbin Qiao & Linxiu Zhang & Scott Rozelle, 2000. "Farm Pesticide, Rice Production, and Human Health," EEPSEA Research Report rr2000051, Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA), revised May 2000.
    8. Gouse, Marnus & Piesse, Jenifer & Thirtle, Colin G., 2006. "Monsanto's Adventures in Zulu Land: Output and Labour Effects of GM Maize and Minimum Tillage," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25309, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:wdevel:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:430-446 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Diego Restuccia & Tasso Adamopoulos, 2012. "Land Reform and Productivity: A Quantitative Analysis with Micro Data," 2012 Meeting Papers 1083, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Cruz Edgar, 2017. "Structural change and non-constant biased technical change," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 17(2), pages 1-23, June.
    4. Noack,Frederik & Wunder,Sven & Angelsen,Arild & Börner,Jan, 2015. "Responses to weather and climate : a cross-section analysis of rural incomes," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7478, The World Bank.
    5. Raul Santaeulalia-Llopis & Diego Restuccia, 2014. "Land Misallocation and Productivity," 2014 Meeting Papers 1314, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Jarko Fidrmuc & Martin Siddiquiy, 2015. "Institutions and Creative Destruction in CEECs: Determinants of Inefficient Use of Assets," Working Papers 353, Leibniz Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and Southeast European Studies).
    7. Shenoy, Ajay, 2017. "Market failures and misallocation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 65-80.
    8. Swarna Sadasivam Vepa & Vinodhini Umashankar & R.V. Bhavani & Rohit Parasar, 2014. "Agriculture and Child Under-Nutrition in India: A State Level Analysis," Working Papers 2014-086, Madras School of Economics,Chennai,India.
    9. McCullough, Ellen B., 2017. "Labor productivity and employment gaps in Sub-Saharan Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 133-152.
    10. Peng Bin & Marco Vassallo, 2016. "The Growth Path of Agricultural Labor Productivity in China: A Latent Growth Curve Model at the Prefectural Level," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(3), pages 1-20, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets

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