Agricultural productivity growth in the Mediterranean and tests of convergence among countries
This paper measures agricultural productivity among a set of thirteen Mediterranean countries which includes two EU- 15 countries (Greece and Spain), another two EU- 25 (Cyprus and Malta) one country under accession negotiations (Turkey) and eight Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia) from 1961 to 2002. The objective of the paper is twofold: Firstly, to analyse agricultural productivity growth in the Mediterranean countries by means of the sequential Malmquist Total Factor Productivity (TFP) index and secondly, to investigate whether this measure is converging among these countries. In terms of the first objective, TFP indices are decomposed into efficiency changes and technical changes, in an attempt to identify the best - practise countries and the overall effect of technological improvements. In terms of the second, both cross- section and time series tests of convergence are applied. The former include the conventional β- and σ- convergence tests, while for the latter, a new method proposed by Nahar and Inder (2002) that allows for country - specific estimates is used. Neither test finds evidence for unconditional convergence, but two distinctive periods, one prior and one after 1980 are recognized. The time series approach identifies four countries to be converging to the mean and another two to be diverging.
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