The Agricultural Productivity Gap

46 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2012 Last revised: 1 Dec 2013

See all articles by Douglas Gollin

Douglas Gollin

Oxford Department of International Development; Williams College; Yale University

David Lagakos

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Michael E. Waugh

New York University (NYU), Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics

Date Written: November 6, 2013

Abstract

According to national accounts data, value added per worker is much higher in the non-agricultural sector than in agriculture in the typical country, and particularly so in developing countries. Taken at face value, this "agricultural productivity gap'' suggests that labor is greatly misallocated across sectors. In this paper, we draw on new micro evidence to ask to what extent the gap is still present when better measures of sector labor inputs and value added are taken into consideration. We find that even after considering sector differences in hours worked and human capital per worker, as well as alternative measures of sector output constructed from household survey data, a puzzlingly large gap remains.

Keywords: agriculture, productivity, value added per worker, misallocation, national income and product accounts

JEL Classification: E01, E24, J61, O11, O13, O15, O18, O41, R11

Suggested Citation

Gollin, Douglas and Lagakos, David and Waugh, Michael E., The Agricultural Productivity Gap (November 6, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1989664 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1989664

Douglas Gollin

Oxford Department of International Development ( email )

Queen Elizabeth House
3 Mansfield Road
Oxford, OX1 3TB
United Kingdom

Williams College ( email )

Fernald House
Williamstown, MA 01267
United States

Yale University ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8264
United States

David Lagakos (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Michael E. Waugh

New York University (NYU), Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

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