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Chasing After the Frontier in Agricultural Productivity

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  • Jules-Daniel Wurlod
  • Derek Eaton

Abstract

This paper explores international productivity patterns in agriculture. We test whether countries higher productivity growth has been experienced by countries that were initially further from the technological frontier. Based on a panel of 84 countries at various levels of development, we find support for convergence among OECD countries but divergence in our sample at large over the period 1960-2010. We then test whether technological catch-up is conditional on absorptive capacities and domestic investments in R&D. While agricultural research intensity has a significant effect on labor productivity growth, the size of this effect decreases the further the country is from the frontier. We calculate a threshold level for the effectiveness of research intensity: increased R&D contributes to catching up to the frontier for those countries with a distance to the frontier less than 22. We also test for additional factors affecting productivity growth, and find that secondary education plays a strong role in less developed countries, while trade openness appears to have had a positive effect on productivity in middle income countries. On the other hand, there is little evidence of much effect, either positive or negative from IPR protection. Of perhaps greater interest is the apparent impact of economic growth outside of agriculture in driving agricultural productivity improvements.

Suggested Citation

  • Jules-Daniel Wurlod & Derek Eaton, 2015. "Chasing After the Frontier in Agricultural Productivity," FOODSECURE Working papers 36, LEI Wageningen UR.
  • Handle: RePEc:fsc:fspubl:36
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    File URL: http://www3.lei.wur.nl/FoodSecurePublications/WP_36_productivity.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Zuzana Smeets Kristkova & Michiel van Dijk & Hans van Meijl, 2015. "Long-term projections of global food security with R&D-driven technological progress," EcoMod2015 8601, EcoMod.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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