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Explaining Agricultural Productivity Levels and Growth: An International Perspective

With persistent population growth, a dwindling supply of arable land per capita, and the relatively high income elasticity of demand for food in developing countries, there is a growing need for food supply increases to originate from growth in productivity rather than expansions in inputs. In this paper the authors construct levels of total factor productivity in agriculture for 111 countries covering the years 1970 to 2000. Employing this data in panel and cross-sectional regressions, the authors seek to explain levels and trends in total factor productivity (TFP) in world agriculture, examining the relative roles of environmental and geographical factors, human capital, macroeconomic factors, technological processes resulting from globalization and the Green Revolution, and institutional factors such as measures of land inequality and proxies for urban biases in public and private expenditure. The authors conclude that, in addition to standard explanations of productivity improvements such as human capital, openness and environmental factors, both urban biases and inequality have been major impediments to successful rural development.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia in its series CEPA Working Papers Series with number WP022005.

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Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qld:uqcepa:18
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  1. Fare, Rolf, et al, 1993. "Derivation of Shadow Prices for Undesirable Outputs: A Distance Function Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 374-80, May.
  2. Ruttan, Vernon W., 2002. "Productivity Growth In World Agriculture: Sources And Constraints," Staff Papers 14176, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
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  7. Alston, Julian M. & Pardey, Philip G. & Taylor, Michael J., 2001. "Agricultural science policy," Food policy statements 32, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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  13. Kawagoe, Toshihiko & Hayami, Yujiro & Ruttan, Vernon W., 1985. "The intercountry agricultural production function and productivity differences among countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 113-132.
  14. Prahladachar, M., 1983. "Income distribution effects of the green revolution in India: A review of empirical evidence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 11(11), pages 927-944, November.
  15. van Ark, Bart, 2002. "Measuring the New Economy: An International Comparative Perspective," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(1), pages 1-14, March.
  16. Alauddin, Mohammad, 2004. "Environmentalizing economic development: a South Asian perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3-4), pages 251-270, December.
  17. James Murdoch & Todd Sandler, 2002. "Civil wars and economic growth: A regional comparison," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(6), pages 451-464.
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