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Market access, agricultural productivity and selection into trade: evidence from Colombia

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Abstract

We study the impact of the selection of farmers into trade on agricultural productivity using new data on the universe of farms in Colombia. To guide our analysis, we formulate a spatial economy model where better market access induces high skill farmers to switch from subsistence to cash crops that are traded in urban centers. We estimate reduced form effects of market access using distance to historical settlements as an instrument and calibrate our model according to these effects. Structural estimates indicate that the selection of farmers into trade have a large effect on agricultural productivity. **** RESUMEN: En este documento estudiamos la elección que hacen los agricultores entre la producción de cultivos comerciales con altos costos fijos y la producción de cultivos de subsistencia con menores costos de producción. Formulamos un modelo de economía espacial en el que un mejor acceso al mercado induce a agricultores de mayor habilidad a pasar de la producción de cultivos de subsistencia a la producción de cultivos que se comercializan en los centros urbanos. Probamos las predicciones del modelo utilizando datos para Colombia que provienen del Tercer Censo Nacional Agropecuario. Explotamos la variación exógena en la ubicación de los asentamientos indígenas en el siglo XVI para estimar efectos de forma reducida del acceso al mercado sobre la decisión de producir cultivos comerciales. Utilizamos los resultados de estas estimaciones para calcular los efectos sobre la productividad agrícola de la existencia de altos costos fijos en la producción de cultivos comerciales. Los restados sugieren que las barreras a la entrada que imponen estos costos fijos en la producción de cultivos comerciales tienen un efecto importante sobre la productividad del sector agrícola en Colombia.

Suggested Citation

  • Margarita Gafaro & Heitor S. Pellegrina, 2018. "Market access, agricultural productivity and selection into trade: evidence from Colombia," Borradores de Economia 1050, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdr:borrec:1050
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    Keywords

    Agricultural Trade; Spatial Economics; Selection into trade; Comercio en agricultura; Economía espacial; selección en comercio;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • J43 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Agricultural Labor Markets
    • N56 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns

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