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Policy, Technology, and Efficiency of Brazilian Agriculture


  • Rada, Nicholas E.
  • Valdes, Constanza


The Brazilian agricultural sector has been transformed from a traditional system of production with low use of modern technologies to a world agricultural leader. That transformation occurred as the country moved away from import-substitution policies—which nurtured domestic industrial development at the expense of agriculture—toward market-oriented policy reforms. These reforms included openness to foreign trade and foreign investment and the use of new technologies, which led to a new growth pattern. To evaluate that transformation, the authors use agricultural censuses spanning 1985-2006 to characterize Brazilian total factor productivity growth, decomposing that growth into technical and effi ciency changes. This report presents the fi ndings of a study that focuses on the effect of Brazil’s science and technology investments and other public policies on farm production. The fi ndings indicate that agricultural research benefi ts have been most rapidly adopted by the most effi cient farms, widening the productivity gap between these farms and average farms. That gap, however, has been narrowed through other public policies, such as rural credit and infrastructure investments, that favor average producers.

Suggested Citation

  • Rada, Nicholas E. & Valdes, Constanza, 2012. "Policy, Technology, and Efficiency of Brazilian Agriculture," Economic Research Report 127498, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:127498

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marasas, C. N. & Smale, M. & Singh, R. P., 2003. "The economic impact of productivity maintenance research: breeding for leaf rust resistance in modern wheat," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 29(3), pages 253-263, December.
    2. Anderson, Kym & Kurzweil, Marianne & Martin, Will & Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2008. "Measuring distortions to agricultural incentives, revisited," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(04), pages 675-704, October.
    3. Nicholas E. Rada & Steven T. Buccola & Keith O. Fuglie, 2010. "Government Policy and Agricultural Productivity in Indonesia," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(3), pages 863-880.
    4. Marasas, C.N. & Smale, M. & Singh, R.P., 2003. "The economic impact of productivity maintenance research: breeding for leaf rust resistance in modern wheat," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 29(3), December.
    5. Aigner, Dennis & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1977. "Formulation and estimation of stochastic frontier production function models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 21-37, July.
    6. Keith O. Fuglie, 2008. "Is a slowdown in agricultural productivity growth contributing to the rise in commodity prices?," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(s1), pages 431-441, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chatani, Kazutoshi. & Pedro, Oluwaseun Olufemi., 2014. "The role of central banks in meeting the development and employment challenges : the case of Mozambique," ILO Working Papers 994865563402676, International Labour Organization.
    2. Silva, Felipe & Fulginiti, Lilyan & Perrin, Richard, 2016. "Trade-off between amazon forest and agriculture in Brazil – shadow price and their substitution estimative for 2006," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235800, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Mulwa, Chalmers & Marenya, Paswel & Rahut, Dil Bahadur & Kassie, Menale, 2015. "Response to Climate Risks among Smallholder Farmers in Malawi: A Multivariate Probit Assessment of the Role of Information, Household Demographics and Farm Characteristics," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212511, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. repec:ilo:ilowps:486556 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Correa, Paulo & Schmidt, Cristiane, 2014. "Public Research Organizations and Agricultural Development in Brazil: How Did Embrapa Get It Right?," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 145, pages 1-10, June.
    6. Will Martin, 2017. "Agricultural Trade and Food Security," Policy notes & Policy briefs 1744, OCP Policy Center.
    7. Silva, Felipe & Fulginiti, Lilyan E. & Perrin, Richard K., 2016. "Did technical change in agricultural production decrease the emission of pollutants on the Amazon Forest during 1990-2009?," 2016 Annual Meeting, February 6-9, 2016, San Antonio, Texas 230092, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.


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