Agriculture and Development: A Brief Review of the Literature

Posted: 6 Jul 2012

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2012


After 20 years of neglect by international donors, agriculture is now again in the headlines because high food prices are increasing food insecurity and poverty. In the coming years, it will be essential to increase food productivity and production in developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and with smallholders. This, however, requires finding viable solutions to a number of complex technical, institutional, and policy issues, including land markets, research on seeds and inputs, agricultural extension, credit, rural infrastructure, connection to markets, rural non-farm employment, trade policy and food price stabilization. This paper reviews what the economic literature has to say on these topics. It discusses in turn the role played by agriculture in the development process and the interactions between agriculture and other economic sectors, the determinants of the Green Revolution and the foundations of agricultural growth, issues of income diversification by farmers, approaches to rural development, and issues of international trade policy and food security, which have been at the root of the crisis in agricultural commodity volatility in recent years.

Keywords: Economic development, Agricultural policy, Sustainable development, Rural poverty reduction, Incomes policy and price policy, Agricultural R&D, Technology and extension services

JEL Classification: O13, Q18, Q01, Q16, E64

Suggested Citation

Dethier, Jean-Jacques and Effenberger, Alexandra, Agriculture and Development: A Brief Review of the Literature (2012). Economic Systems, Vol. 36, No. 2, 2012. Available at SSRN:

Jean-Jacques Dethier

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States


Alexandra Effenberger (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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