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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

    as
    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:The Economics of Food, Farming, Natural Resources, and Rural America, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, pages 1-2, 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. Foreman, Linda & Livezey, Janet, 2004. "Characteristics and Production Costs of U.S. Rice Farms," Statistical Bulletin 262278, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    9. 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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    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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