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Agro-Exports and the Rural Resource Poor in Latin America: Policy Options for Achieving Broadly Based Growth

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  • Carter, Michael R.
  • Barham, Bradford L.
  • Mesbah, Dina
  • Stanley, Denise

Abstract

Concentrating on fundamental sector-level impacts that shape the nature of agro-export growth, this paper indicates how intrahousehold impacts fit into the analysis. Section 1 is introductory. Section 2 puts forward the conceptual framework needed to understand sectoral impacts of agro-export growth on the rural resource poor, impacts that can be divided into a small-farm adoption effect, a land-access effect, and a labor-absorption effect, all of which are interlinked. Section 3 explores the economic forces that shape the magnitude of the direct (adoption and land access) and indirect (labor absorption) effects of agro-export growth. Its chief message is that the agronomic and economic characteristics of agro-export crops interact with the intrinsic imperfections of rural factor markets to create farm-size biases-biases that are frequently tilted against small farm production. Section 4 summarizes the coordinated empirical, farm-level research on agro-export booms in Chile, Guatemala, and Paraguay. Section 5 analyzes the range of policy available to foment broadly based growth. In order of increasing policy activism, policies are divided into those that (1) get prices and institutions "right," (2) pick winners for public investment, (3) reform land markets, and (4) reform information-constrained markets. Section 5 argues that capital and insurance market reforms will almost always be necessary if agro-export growth is to be broadly based. Section 6 closes the paper with a brief reflection on the desirability of promoting broadly based growth: Is pursuit of broadly based growth worth it given the likely complexity of the recommended factor market interventions? While this is a highly complex and value-laden question, section 6 suggests perspectives from both the U.S. domestic and low-income country policy contexts that make broadly based growth a goal worth pursuing.

Suggested Citation

  • Carter, Michael R. & Barham, Bradford L. & Mesbah, Dina & Stanley, Denise, 1995. "Agro-Exports and the Rural Resource Poor in Latin America: Policy Options for Achieving Broadly Based Growth," Research Papers 12754, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Land Tenure Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uwltrp:12754
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.12754
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sen, Abhijit, 1981. "Market Failure and Control of Labour Power: Towards an Explanation of 'Structure' and Change in Indian Agriculture: Part 1," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(3), pages 201-228, September.
    2. Binswanger, Hans P. & Deininger, Klaus & Feder, Gershon, 1995. "Power, distortions, revolt and reform in agricultural land relations," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 42, pages 2659-2772, Elsevier.
    3. Carter, Michael R., 1989. "The impact of credit on peasant productivity and differentiation in Nicaragua," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 13-36, July.
    4. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1985. "A Theory of Contractual Structure in Agriculture," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 352-367, June.
    5. von Braun, Joachim & Hotchkiss, David & Immink, Maarten D. C., 1989. "Nontraditional export crops in Guatemala: effects on production, consumption, and nutrition," Research reports 73, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Weisskoff, Richard, 1992. "The Paraguayan agro-export model of development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(10), pages 1531-1540, October.
    7. Carter, Michael R. & Mesbah, Dina, 1993. "Can land market reform mitigate the exclusionary aspects of rapid agro-export growth?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 21(7), pages 1085-1100, July.
    8. Sen, Abhijit, 1981. "Market Failure and Control of Labour Power: Towards an Explanation of 'Structure' and Change in Indian Agriculture. Part 2," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(4), pages 327-350, December.
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    1. Barham, Bradford & Carter, Michael R. & Sigelko, Wayne, 1995. "Agro-export production and peasant land access: Examining the dynamic between adoption and accumulation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 85-107, February.
    2. Weller, Jürgen, 2001. "Economic reforms, growth and employment: labour markets in Latin America and the Caribbean," Libros de la CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 66 edited by Eclac.
    3. Carletto, Calogero & de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 1996. "Knowledge, Toxicity, And External Shocks: The Determinants Of Adoption And Abandonment Of Non-Traditional Export Crops By Smallholders In Guatemala," CUDARE Working Papers 25088, University of California, Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    4. Carter, Michael R. & Barham, Bradford L., 1996. "Level playing fields and laissez faire: Postliberal development strategy in inegalitarian agrarian economies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(7), pages 1133-1149, July.
    5. Weinberger, Katinka & Lumpkin, Thomas A., 2007. "Diversification into Horticulture and Poverty Reduction: A Research Agenda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 1464-1480, August.
    6. Ben Selwyn, 2013. "The global retail revolution, fruiticulture and economic development in north-east Brazil," Review of International Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(1), pages 153-179, February.
    7. Collins, Jane L., 1995. "Farm size and non traditional exports: Determinants of participation in world markets," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(7), pages 1103-1114, July.

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