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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 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
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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
Web page: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/economics/

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  1. Margaret S. McMillan & Dani Rodrik, 2011. "Globalization, Structural Change and Productivity Growth," NBER Working Papers 17143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Todd Schoellman, 2012. "Education Quality and Development Accounting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 388-417.
  3. Douglas Gollin & Stephen Parente & Richard Rogerson, 2002. "The Role of Agriculture in Development," Department of Economics Working Papers 2002-09, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  4. 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.
  5. Akos Valentinyi & Berthold Herrendorf, 2008. "Measuring Factor Income Shares at the Sectoral Level," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0803, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  6. Areendam Chanda & Carl-Johan Dalgaard, 2003. "Dual Economies and International Total Factor Productivity Differences," Macroeconomics 0305002, EconWPA.
  7. 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.
  8. Francesco Caselli & James Feyrer, 2006. "The Marginal Product of Capital," CEP Discussion Papers dp0735, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. Bryan, Gharad & Chowdhury, Shyamal & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq, 2012. "Seasonal Migration and Risk Aversion," CEPR Discussion Papers 8739, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. 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.
  11. Jacoby, Hanan G. & Mansuri, Ghazala, 2009. "Incentives, supervision, and sharecropper productivity," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 232-241, March.
  12. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
  13. Martin Ravallion & Shaohua Chen & Prem Sangraula, 2009. "Dollar a Day Revisited," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 23(2), pages 163-184, June.
  14. Todd Schoellman & Berthold Herrendorf, 2011. "Why is Agricultural Labor Productivity so Low in the United States?," 2011 Meeting Papers 1087, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  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. Vollrath, Dietrich, 2009. "How important are dual economy effects for aggregate productivity?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 325-334, March.
  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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