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Geography and Agricultural Productivity: Cross-Country Evidence from Micro Plot-Level Data

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  • Tasso Adamopoulos
  • Diego Restuccia

Abstract

We quantify the role of geography and land quality for agricultural productivity differences across countries using high-resolution micro-geography data and a spatial accounting framework. The rich spatial data provide for each cell of land covering the entire globe, the potential yield for 18 crops, which measures the maximum attainable crop output given soil quality, climate conditions, terrain topography, and a given level of cultivation inputs. While there is considerable heterogeneity in land quality across space, even within narrow geographic regions, we find that low agricultural land productivity is not due to unfavourable geographic endowments. If countries produced current crops in each cell according to potential yields, the rich-poor agricultural yield gap would virtually disappear, from 214 percent to 5 percent. We also find evidence of additional aggregate productivity gains attainable through spatial reallocation and changes in crop production.

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  • Tasso Adamopoulos & Diego Restuccia, 2021. "Geography and Agricultural Productivity: Cross-Country Evidence from Micro Plot-Level Data," Working Papers tecipa-692, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-692
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen Ayerst & Loren Brandt & Diego Restuccia, 2023. "Distortions, Producer Dynamics, and Aggregate Productivity: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Working Papers tecipa-748, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    2. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & Amodio, Francesco & Poschke, Markus, 2019. "Selection and Absolute Advantage in Farming and Entrepreneurship," IZA Discussion Papers 12878, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Chaoran Chen & Diego Restuccia & Raul Santaeulalia-Llopis, 2022. "The Effects of Land Markets on Resource Allocation and Agricultural Productivity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 45, pages 41-54, July.
    4. Ryota Nakatani, 2017. "External Adjustment in a Resource-Rich Economy: The Case of Papua New Guinea," IMF Working Papers 2017/267, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Tasso Adamopoulos & Diego Restuccia, 2020. "Land Reform and Productivity: A Quantitative Analysis with Micro Data," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 1-39, July.
    6. Tasso Adamopoulos & Loren Brandt & Jessica Leight & Diego Restuccia, 2022. "Misallocation, Selection, and Productivity: A Quantitative Analysis With Panel Data From China," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 90(3), pages 1261-1282, May.
    7. Ishan Nath, 2021. "Climate Change, The Food Problem, and the Challenge of Adaptation through Sectoral Reallocation," Working Papers 21-29, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    8. Britos, Braulio & Hernandez, Manuel A. & Robles, Miguel & Trupkin, Danilo R., 2022. "Land market distortions and aggregate agricultural productivity: Evidence from Guatemala," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 155(C).
    9. Le, Kien, 2020. "Land use restrictions, misallocation in agriculture, and aggregate productivity in Vietnam," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C).
    10. Bruno Morando, 2021. "Subsistence farming and factor misallocation:Evidence from Ugandan agriculture," Economics Department Working Paper Series n308-21.pdf, Department of Economics, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
    11. Raphael GODEFROY & Joshua LEWIS, 2018. "The Impact of Uncertainty in Agriculture," Cahiers de recherche 15-2018, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    12. Dorinet, Elizavetta & Jouvet, Pierre-André & Wolfersberger, Julien, 2021. "Is the agricultural sector cursed too? Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 140(C).
    13. Dorinet, Elizavetta & Jouvet, Pierre-André & Wolfersberger, Julien, 2021. "Is the agricultural sector cursed too? Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 140(C).
    14. Benos, Nikos & Karagiannis, Stelios & Tsitou, Sofia, 2022. "Geography, Land Ownership and Literacy: Historical Evidence from Greek Regions," MPRA Paper 118748, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Hernandez, M. & Britos, B. & Robles, M. & Trupkin, D., 2018. "Land market distortions: Theory and evidence from Guatemala," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277031, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    16. Maria Jones & Florence Kondylis & John Loeser & Jeremy Magruder, 2022. "Factor Market Failures and the Adoption of Irrigation in Rwanda," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 112(7), pages 2316-2352, July.
    17. Gordon Menzies, 2018. "A Synthesis of the Lewis Development Model and Neoclassical Trade Models," Working Paper Series 46, Economics Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney.
    18. Markhof,Yannick Valentin & Ponzini,Giulia & Wollburg,Philip Randolph, 2022. "Measuring Disaster Crop Production Losses Using Survey Microdata : Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9968, The World Bank.
    19. Bruno Morando, 2022. "Aggregate productivity and inefficient cropping patterns in Uganda," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 58(2), pages 221-237, December.
    20. Mr. Jorge A Alvarez & Claudia Berg, 2019. "Crop Selection and International Differences in Aggregate Agricultural Productivity," IMF Working Papers 2019/179, International Monetary Fund.
    21. Rodrigo Garcia‐Verdu & Alexis Meyer‐Cirkel & Akira Sasahara & Hans Weisfeld, 2022. "Importing inputs for climate change mitigation: The case of agricultural productivity," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 34-56, February.
    22. Rivera-Padilla, Alberto, 2020. "Crop choice, trade costs, and agricultural productivity," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C).
    23. Nath, Ishan, 2022. "Climate Change, The Food Problem, and the Challenge of Adaptation through Sectoral Reallocation," Conference papers 333404, Purdue University, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Global Trade Analysis Project.
    24. Ying Sun & Jin Fan & Weiguo Jia, 2023. "Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Outbreak Intensify the Resource Misallocation in China’s Food Production?," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(6), pages 1-19, March.
    25. Bruno Morando, 2021. "Market access and inefficient cropping patterns in Uganda," Economics Department Working Paper Series n309-21.pdf, Department of Economics, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    agriculture; land quality; productivity; spatial allocation; crop choice; cross-country.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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