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The Agricultural Productivity Gap in Developing Countries

  • Douglas Gollin

    (Williams College)

According to national accounts data for developing countries, value added per worker is on average four times higher in the non-agriculture sector than in agriculture. Taken at face value this "agricultural productivity gap" suggests that labor is greatly misallocated across sectors in the developing world. In this paper we draw on new micro evidence to ask to what extent the gap is still present when better measures of inputs and outputs are taken into consideration. We find that even after considering sector differences in hours worked and human capital per worker, urban-rural cost-of-living differences, and alternative measures of sector income from household survey data, a puzzlingly large gap remains.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 510.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:510
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  1. Areendam Chanda & Carl-Johan Dalgaard, 2005. "Dual Economies and International Total Factory Productivity Differences," Macroeconomics 0507003, EconWPA.
  2. Todd Schoellman, 2012. "Education Quality and Development Accounting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 388-417.
  3. David Lagakos & Benjamin Moll & Tommaso Porzio & Nancy Qian, 2012. "Experience Matters: Human Capital and Development Accounting," Working Papers 2012-021, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  4. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua & Sangraula, Prem, 2008. "Dollar a day revisited," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4620, The World Bank.
  5. Restuccia, Diego & Yang, Dennis Tao & Zhu, Xiaodong, 2008. "Agriculture and aggregate productivity: A quantitative cross-country analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 234-250, March.
  6. Todd Schoellman & Berthold Herrendorf, 2011. "Why is Agricultural Labor Productivity so Low in the United States?," 2011 Meeting Papers 1087, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Akos Valentinyi & Berthold Herrendorf, 2008. "Measuring Factor Income Shares at the Sector Level," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 820-835, October.
  8. Francesco Caselli, 2007. "The Marginal Product of Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 535-568, 05.
  9. Jacoby, Hanan G. & Mansuri, Ghazala, 2007. "Incentives, supervision, and sharecropper productivity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4125, The World Bank.
  10. Margaret S. McMillan & Dani Rodrik, 2011. "Globalization, Structural Change and Productivity Growth," NBER Working Papers 17143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ilahi, Nadeem & Jafarey, Saqib, 1999. "Guestworker migration, remittances and the extended family: evidence from Pakistan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 485-512, April.
  12. Bryan, Gharad & Chowdhury, Shyamal & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq, 2012. "Seasonal Migration and Risk Aversion," CEPR Discussion Papers 8739, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Vollrath, Dietrich, 2009. "How important are dual economy effects for aggregate productivity?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 325-334, March.
  14. Douglas Gollin, 2001. "Getting Income Shares Right," Department of Economics Working Papers 2001-11, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  15. Berthold Herrendorf & Ákos Valentinyi, 2012. "Which Sectors Make Poor Countries So Unproductive?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 323-341, 04.
  16. Douglas Gollin & Stephen Parente & Richard Rogerson, 2002. "The Role of Agriculture in Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 160-164, May.
  17. David Lagakos & Michael E. Waugh, 2013. "Selection, Agriculture, and Cross-Country Productivity Differences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(2), pages 948-80, April.
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