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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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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    1. repec:eee:agisys:v:154:y:2017:i:c:p:157-167 is not listed on IDEAS
    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. repec:ags:afjrde:263570 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. 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.
    5. repec:bla:jageco:v:68:y:2017:i:2:p:494-517 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Abdul-Salam, Yakubu & Phimister, Euan, 2015. "Efficiency Effects of Access to Information on Small Scale Agriculture: Empirical Evidence from Uganda," 89th Annual Conference, April 13-15, 2015, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 204302, Agricultural Economics Society.
    7. repec:ags:afjrde:263569 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Klasen, Stephan & Reimers, Malte, 2017. "Looking at Pro-Poor Growth from an Agricultural Perspective," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 147-168.
    9. Aziz Karimov, 2014. "Factors affecting efficiency of cotton producers in rural Khorezm, Uzbekistan: Re-examining the role of knowledge indicators in technical efficiency improvement," Agricultural and Food Economics, Springer;Italian Society of Agricultural Economics (SIDEA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-16, December.
    10. 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.
    11. Mkondiwa, M., 2018. "Is wealth found in the soil or brain? Investing in farm people in Malawi," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 275914, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. repec:spr:agfoec:v:6:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1186_s40100-018-0101-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. 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.
    16. 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).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural productivity; agricultural production function; cross‐country regression; education; human capital;

    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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