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The Agricultural Productivity Gap in Developing Countries

  • Douglas Gollin
  • David Lagakos
  • Michael E. Waugh

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 agricultural productivity gap remains.

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Paper provided by New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 11-14.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ste:nystbu:11-14
Contact details of provider: Postal: New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics, 44 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10012-1126
Phone: (212) 998-0860
Fax: (212) 995-4218
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  1. 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.
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  3. 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.
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  7. Areendam Chanda & Carl-Johan Dalgaard, 2003. "Dual Economies and International Total Factor Productivity Differences," EPRU Working Paper Series 03-09, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  8. Gharad Bryan & Shyamal Chowdhury & A. Mushfiq Mobarak, 2011. "Seasonal Migration and Risk Aversion," Working Papers id:4650, eSocialSciences.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
  12. Todd Schoellman, 2012. "Education Quality and Development Accounting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 388-417.
  13. David Lagakos & Benjamin Moll & Tommaso Porzio & Nancy Qian & Todd Schoellman, 2012. "Experience Matters: Human Capital and Development Accounting," NBER Working Papers 18602, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jacoby, Hanan G. & Mansuri, Ghazala, 2007. "Incentives, supervision, and sharecropper productivity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4125, The World Bank.
  15. Todd Schoellman & Berthold Herrendorf, 2011. "Why is Agricultural Labor Productivity so Low in the United States?," 2011 Meeting Papers 1087, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
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