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Revisiting the Role of Education for Agricultural Productivity

Author

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  • Malte Reimers

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

  • Stephan Klasen

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

Abstract

While the majority of micro studies finds that rural education increases agricultural productivity, various recent cross-country regressions analysing the determinants of agricultural productivity were only able to detect insignificant or even surprising negative effects of schooling. In this paper, we argue and show that this failure to find a positive impact of education in the international context is rather a data problem related to the use of enrolment and literacy indicators. Using a panel of 95 developing and middle-income countries from 1961 to 2002 together with the newest version of the Barro-Lee educational attainment dataset, we show that education indeed has a highly significant, positive effect on agricultural productivity which is robust to changes in the control variables and in the econometric methods applied. Distinguishing between different levels of education further reveals that only primary and secondary schooling have significant positive impacts while tertiary education remains insignificant. Finally, the effect of education is estimated separately for countries with different income levels. Results indicate that the coefficient of the education variable remains insignificant for countries from the poorest three income quintiles, while it is positive and highly significant for the richest two quintiles. This finding can be interpreted as support for the prominent argument claiming that education leads to higher agricultural productivity only in the presence of rapid technical change where education will help farmers to adjust more readily to the new opportunities.

Suggested Citation

  • Malte Reimers & Stephan Klasen, 2011. "Revisiting the Role of Education for Agricultural Productivity," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 90, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:090
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    2. Maurice Mutisya & Moses W. Ngware & Caroline W. Kabiru & Ngianga-bakwin Kandala, 2016. "The effect of education on household food security in two informal urban settlements in Kenya: a longitudinal analysis," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 8(4), pages 743-756, August.
    3. Sabasi, Darlington & Shumway, C. Richard, 2014. "Technical Change, Efficiency, and Total Factor Productivity in U.S. Agriculture," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 170225, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Looga, J. & Jürgenson, E. & Sikk, K. & Matveev, E. & Maasikamäe, S., 2018. "Land fragmentation and other determinants of agricultural farm productivity: The case of Estonia," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 285-292.
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    12. Jones, Michael S. & Rejesus, Roderick M. & Brown, Zachary S. & Yorobe, Jose M., 2017. "Do farmers with less education realize higher yield gains from GM maize in developing countries? Evidence from the Philippines," 2017 Annual Meeting, February 4-7, 2017, Mobile, Alabama 252822, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    13. Goensch, Iris, 2013. "Does the availability of secondary schools increase primary schooling? Empirical evidence from northern Senegal," Discussion Papers 63, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Center for international Development and Environmental Research (ZEU).
    14. Gao, Yang & Zhang, Xiao & Wu, Lei & Yin, Shijiu & Lu, Jiao, 2017. "Resource basis, ecosystem and growth of grain family farm in China: Based on rough set theory and hierarchical linear model," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 157-167.
    15. Siavash Fallah-Alipour & Hossein Mehrabi Boshrabadi & Mohammad Reza Zare Mehrjerdi & Dariush Hayati, 2018. "A Framework for Empirical Assessment of Agricultural Sustainability: The Case of Iran," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(12), pages 1-26, December.
    16. Yakubu Abdul-Salam & Euan Phimister, 2017. "Efficiency Effects of Access to Information on Small-scale Agriculture: Empirical Evidence from Uganda using Stochastic Frontier and IRT Models," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 494-517, June.
    17. Cristina Salvioni & Roberto Henke & Francesco Vanni, 2020. "The Impact of Non-Agricultural Diversification on Financial Performance: Evidence from Family Farms in Italy," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(2), pages 1-14, January.
    18. Ogundari, Kolawole, 2014. "The Paradigm of Agricultural Efficiency and its Implication on Food Security in Africa: What Does Meta-analysis Reveal?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 690-702.
    19. Jean‐Paul Chavas & Céline Nauges, 2020. "Uncertainty, Learning, and Technology Adoption in Agriculture," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 42(1), pages 42-53, March.
    20. Appau, Samuelson & Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa & Smyth, Russell & Trinh, Trong-Anh, 2021. "The long-term impact of the Vietnam War on agricultural productivity," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 146(C).
    21. Kathrin Stenchly & Tobias Feldt & David Weiss & Jessica N Andriamparany & Andreas Buerkert, 2019. "The explanatory power of silent comics: An assessment in the context of knowledge transfer and agricultural extension to rural communities in southwestern Madagascar," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(6), pages 1-26, June.
    22. Ogundari, Kolawole & Awokuse, Titus, 2016. "Assessing the Contribution of Agricultural Productivity to Food Security levels in Sub-Saharan African countries," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235730, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    23. Cathal O’Donoghue & Kevin Heanue, 2018. "The impact of formal agricultural education on farm level innovation and management practices," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 43(4), pages 844-863, August.
    24. Arslan, A., 2018. "Climate resilience in rural Zambia: Evaluating farmers’ response to El Niño-induced drought," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 275905, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    25. Kirtti Ranjan Paltasingh & Phanindra Goyari, 2018. "Impact of farmer education on farm productivity under varying technologies: case of paddy growers in India," Agricultural and Food Economics, Springer;Italian Society of Agricultural Economics (SIDEA), vol. 6(1), pages 1-19, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural productivity; agricultural production function; cross‐country regression; education; human capital;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General

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