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Population pressure and livelihood dynamics: Panel evidence from Bangladesh


  • Rashid, Shahidur
  • Tefera, Nigussie
  • Lemma, Solomon
  • Yunus, Mohammad


Since the publication of the World Development Report 2008, two related strands of research have emerged—one on the validity of smallholder-led development strategy and the other on agricultural intensification under population pressure. The former casts doubt about the role of agriculture in economic development in smallholders dominated countries and the later provides evidence that are contrary to earlier findings on induced innovation theory. Using a unique panel dataset, we examine whether these arguments are valid for Bangladesh—a densely populated country that has experienced significant growth in recent decades. The results suggest that (1) agriculture as a source of income declined significantly over the past two decades; (2) the operated farm size stopped declining in the late 1980s; and (3) that population density relates positively with a host of agricultural intensifications indicators with no evidence of threshold. Historical data on real prices, domestic surpluses, and other macroeconomic variables lend further support to these results. Thus, the paper concludes that small-holding was not a deterrent to structural changes in Bangladesh thus far and that agricultural intensification continued amid intense population pressure.

Suggested Citation

  • Rashid, Shahidur & Tefera, Nigussie & Lemma, Solomon & Yunus, Mohammad, 2014. "Population pressure and livelihood dynamics: Panel evidence from Bangladesh," IFPRI discussion papers 1326, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1326

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2005. "History, Institutions, and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1190-1213, September.
    2. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588.
    3. Boyce, James K & Ravallion, Martin, 1991. "A Dynamic Econometric Model of Agricultural Wage Determination in Bangladesh," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 53(4), pages 361-376, November.
    4. Zhang, Xiaobo & Rashid, Shahidur & Ahmad, Kaikaus & Mueller, Valerie & Lee, Hak Lim & Lemma, Solomon & Belal, Saika & Ahmed, Akhter U., 2013. "Rising wages in Bangladesh:," IFPRI discussion papers 1249, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Baltagi, Badi H. & Wu, Ping X., 1999. "Unequally Spaced Panel Data Regressions With Ar(1) Disturbances," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(6), pages 814-823, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zhang, Xiaobo & Rashid, Shahidur & Ahmad, Kaikaus & Ahmed, Akhter, 2014. "Escalation of Real Wages in Bangladesh: Is it the Beginning of Structural Transformation?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 273-285.


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