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Specific Experience, Household Structure and Intergenerational Transfers: Farm Family Land and Labor Arrangements in Developing Countries

  • Rosenzweig, Mark R.
  • Wolpin, Kenneth I.

An overlapping generations model incorporating returns to specific experience is used to demonstrate how three salient phenomena in land-scarce developing countries—the predominance of intergenerational family extension, cost advantages of family relative to hired labor, and the scarcity of land sales—may be manifestations of an optimal implicit contract between generations that maximizes the gains from farm-specific, experientially obtained knowledge. A method for estimating the contribution to agricultural profits of the farm experience embodies in elderly kin based on a three-year panel of household data from India is proposed and implemented. Implications of the theory for market transactions in land and for family extension are also tested using individual farm data and time-series information on rainfall. Why is the aged husbandman more skillful in his calling than the younger beginner, but because there is a certain uniformity in the operation of the sun, rain, and earth, towards the production of vegetables; and experience teaches the old practitioner the rules, by which this operation is governed and directed? David Hume [1758, p. 106]

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/8432
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Paper provided by University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center in its series Bulletins with number 8432.

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Date of creation: 1984
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Handle: RePEc:ags:umedbu:8432
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  1. Dipak Mazumdar, 1959. "The Marginal Productivity Theory of Wages and Disguised Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 190-197.
  2. Welch, F, 1970. "Education in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 35-59, Jan.-Feb..
  3. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Spivak, Avia, 1981. "The Family as an Incomplete Annuities Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 372-91, April.
  4. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-46, September.
  5. Mark R. Rosenzweig, 1980. "Neoclassical Theory and the Optimizing Peasant: An Econometric Analysis of Market Family Labor Supply in a Developing Country," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(1), pages 31-55.
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