Labor: Decisions, Contracts and Organization
We assess the development economics of on-farm employment with an eye toward policy implications. What do we know and what additional research is needed? The older tradition of labor market dualism and some of the more modern research are seen to share a characteristic of misplaced exogeneity, and calls for asset redistribution and institutional regulation may need to be tempered by more fundamental explanations. Understanding labor contracts as a facilitator of specialization on the farm and in the larger economy is key. Integrating the wedge model of farm behavior with agency-cost explanations of organization will provide a powerful analytical tool. Ultimately, a general equilibrium view with endogenous institutions will deepen our understanding of why total costs of coordination increase even as turnover costs per worker decline and how public policy can facilitate that cooperation.
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