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Gender differences in agricultural productivity


  • Quisumbing, Agnes R.


This paper reviews the econometric evidence on gender differences in agricultural productivity. It provides a methodological overview and a critique of (1) production function-based estimates of technical and labor productivity differences by gender, (2) individual (gender-disaggregated) labor supply and earnings functions and (3) studies of the determinants of technological adoption. The review finds that (1) in general, male and female farmers are equally efficient as farm managers. Women farmers' lower yields are attributable to lower levels of inputs and human capital than men. However, the use of coefficients estimated from these studies for simulation exercises may not be valid if endogenous input choice is not considered; (2) returns to schooling for both men and women are significant in dynamic agricultural settings where modern technologies have been introduced. Returns to an additional year of women's education range from 2 to 15 percent, which compares favorably with those of men; and (3) farmers with more education are more likely to adopt new technologies. Providing universal primary education also stimulates early adoption by female farmers, whom other women are more likely to imitate. Farmers with more land and farm tools are also more likely to adopt new technologies. To the extent that women farmers may have less education, less access to land, and own fewer tools, they may be less likely to adopt new technologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Quisumbing, Agnes R., 1995. "Gender differences in agricultural productivity," FCND discussion papers 5, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:fcnddp:5

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    Cited by:

    1. Alkire, Sabina & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela & Peterman, Amber & Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Seymour, Greg & Vaz, Ana, 2012. "The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index:," IFPRI discussion papers 1240, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Paul Schultz, T., 2002. "Why Governments Should Invest More to Educate Girls," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 207-225, February.
    3. Smale, Melinda & Mason, Nicole M., 2012. "Demand for Maize Hybrids, Seed Subsidies, and Seed Decisionmakers in Zambia," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 123555, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    4. Quisumbing, Agnes R., 1996. "Male-female differences in agricultural productivity: Methodological issues and empirical evidence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(10), pages 1579-1595, October.
    5. Caren A. Grown & Chandrika Bahadur & Jessie Handbury & Diane Elson, 2006. "The Financial Requirements of Achieving Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_467, Levy Economics Institute.
    6. Alderman, Harold & Hoddinott, John & Haddad, Lawrence James & Udry, Christopher, 1995. "Gender differentials in farm productivity," FCND discussion papers 6, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Gutner, Tammi, 1999. "The political economy of Food subsidy reform in Egypt," FCND briefs 1, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Howard, Patricia L. & Nabanoga, Gorettie, 2007. "Are there Customary Rights to Plants? An Inquiry among the Baganda (Uganda), with Special Attention to Gender," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1542-1563, September.
    9. repec:asi:ajosrd:2012:p:10-16 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Kumar, Neha & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 2011. "Gendered impacts of the 2007-08 food price crisis: Evidence using panel data from rural Ethiopia," IFPRI discussion papers 1093, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    11. Behrman, Julia & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth & Quisumbing, Agnes, 2011. "The gender implications of large-scale land deals:," IFPRI discussion papers 1056, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    12. repec:wly:econjl:v::y:2017:i:605:p:f236-f265 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Howard, Patricia L. & Nabanoga, Gorettie, 2005. "Are there customary rights to plants?: an inquiry among the Baganda (Uganda), with special attention to gender," CAPRi working papers 44, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    14. Ndiritu, S. Wagura & Kassie, Menale & Shiferaw, Bekele, 2014. "Are there systematic gender differences in the adoption of sustainable agricultural intensification practices? Evidence from Kenya," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(P1), pages 117-127.
    15. repec:pit:wpaper:269 is not listed on IDEAS


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