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Agricultural Productivity and Structural Transformation: Evidence from Brazil

Listed author(s):
  • Paula Bustos
  • Bruno Caprettini
  • Jacopo Ponticelli

We study the effects of the adoption of new agricultural technologies on structural transformation. To guide empirical work, we present a simple model where the effect of agricultural productivity on industrial development depends on the factor-bias of technical change. We test the predictions of the model by studying the introduction of genetically engineered soybean seeds in Brazil, which had heterogeneous effects on agricultural productivity across areas with different soil and weather characteristics. We find that technical change in soy production was strongly labor-saving and led to industrial growth, as predicted by the model.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 106 (2016)
Issue (Month): 6 (June)
Pages: 1320-1365

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:106:y:2016:i:6:p:1320-65
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20131061
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  1. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1992. "Agricultural productivity, comparative advantage, and economic growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 317-334, December.
  2. Wright, Gavin, 1979. "Cheap Labor and Southern Textiles before 1880," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(03), pages 655-680, September.
  3. Herrendorf, Berthold & Rogerson, Richard & Valentinyi, Ákos, 2014. "Growth and Structural Transformation," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 855-941 Elsevier.
  4. L. Rachel Ngai & Christopher A. Pissarides, 2007. "Structural Change in a Multisector Model of Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 429-443, March.
  5. Fernandez-Cornejo, Jorge & Hendricks, Chad & Mishra, Ashok K., 2005. "Technology Adoption and Off-Farm Household Income: The Case of Herbicide-Tolerant Soybeans," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 37(03), December.
  6. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1989. "Income Distribution, Market Size, and Industrialization," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 537-564.
  7. Richard Hornbeck & Pinar Keskin, 2015. "Does Agriculture Generate Local Economic Spillovers? Short-Run and Long-Run Evidence from the Ogallala Aquifer," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 192-213, May.
  8. Piyabha Kongsamut & Sergio Rebelo & Danyang Xie, 2001. "Beyond Balanced Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(4), pages 869-882.
  9. Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian, 2011. "The Potato's Contribution to Population and Urbanization: Evidence From A Historical Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 593-650.
  10. Daron Acemoglu & Veronica Guerrieri, 2008. "Capital Deepening and Nonbalanced Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(3), pages 467-498, June.
  11. Pablo Fajgelbaum & Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2011. "Income Distribution, Product Quality, and International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(4), pages 721-765.
  12. Berthold Herrendorf & Richard Rogerson & ?kos Valentinyi, 2013. "Two Perspectives on Preferences and Structural Transformation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 2752-2789, December.
  13. Daron Acemoglu, 2010. "When Does Labor Scarcity Encourage Innovation?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1037-1078.
  14. Guy Michaels & Ferdinand Rauch & Stephen J. Redding, 2012. "Urbanization and Structural Transformation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 535-586.
  15. Vogel, Stephen J, 1994. "Structural Changes in Agriculture: Production Linkages and Agricultural Demand-Led Industrialization," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(1), pages 136-156, January.
  16. repec:hoo:wpaper:e-92-3 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Francisco J. Buera & Joseph P. Kaboski, 2009. "Can Traditional Theories of Structural Change Fit The Data?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 469-477, 04-05.
  18. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2001. "The U.S. Structural Transformation and Regional Convergence: A Reinterpretation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 584-616, June.
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