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Patterns of Rural Development: A Cross-Country Comparison Using Microeconomic Data

  • Paul Winters

    (American University Washington, DC USA)

  • Timothy Essam

    (University of Maryland, MD USA)

  • Benjamin Davis

    (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization)

  • Alberto Zezza

    (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization)

  • Calogero Carletto

    (World Bank Washington, DC, USA)

  • Kostas Stamoulis

    (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization)

This article proposes a general pattern of rural development in which rises in per capita income are associated with a decline in the importance of agricultural production and a rise in the importance of non-agricultural income sources. Following the approach to examining Engel’s Law, we use data from 15 developing countries and a merged data set to test whether such a pattern emerges. The analysis shows a strong, positive relationship between rising per capita income and the share of income earned from rural non-agricultural activities and a negative relationship between per capita income and agricultural production.

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Paper provided by Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA) in its series Working Papers with number 08-06.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fao:wpaper:0806
Contact details of provider: Postal: Agricultural Sector in Economic Development Service FAO Viale delle Terme di Caracalla 00153 Rome Italy
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Fax: +39 06 57055522
Web page: http://www.fao.org/es/esa/
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  1. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1986. "On Measuring Child Costs: With Applications to Poor Countries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 720-44, August.
  2. Benjamin Davis & Paul Winters & Gero Carletto & Katia Covarrubias & Esteban Quinones & Alberto Zezza & Kostas Stamoulis & Genny Bonomi & Stefania DiGiuseppe, 2007. "Rural Income Generating Activities; A Cross Country Comparison," Working Papers 07-16, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
  3. Holcomb, Rodney B. & Park, John L. & Capps, Oral, Jr., 1995. "Revisiting Engel'S Law: Examining Expenditure Patterns For Food At Home And Away From Home," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 26(2), September.
  4. Lanjouw, Jean O. & Lanjouw, Peter, 2001. "The rural non-farm sector: issues and evidence from developing countries," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 26(1), October.
  5. Zezza, Alberto & Winters, Paul C. & Davis, Benjamin & Carletto, Calogero & Covarrubias, Katia & Quinones, Esteban & Stamoulis, Kostas G. & Di Giuseppe, Stefania, 2007. "Rural Household Access to Assets and Agrarian Institutions: A Cross Country Comparison," 106th Seminar, October 25-27, 2007, Montpellier, France 7925, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  6. Winters, Paul & Davis, Benjamin & Carletto, Gero & Covarrubias, Katia & Quiñones, Esteban J. & Zezza, Alberto & Azzarri, Carlo & Stamoulis, Kostas, 2009. "Assets, Activities and Rural Income Generation: Evidence from a Multicountry Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 1435-1452, September.
  7. Byrne, Patrick J. & Capps, Oral, Jr., 1996. "Does Engel'S Law Extend To Food Away From Home?," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 27(2), July.
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