Tropical Oil Crops and Rural Poverty

77 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2017

See all articles by Ryan Edwards

Ryan Edwards

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 1, 2017


I study the poverty impacts of the largest modern plantation-based agricultural expansion, Indonesian palm oil over the 2000s. Causal effects are identified by instrumenting the decadal expansion in the area planted with oil palm in each district with its agro-climatically attainable yield. Of the more than 10 million Indonesians lifted from poverty over the 2000s, my most conservative estimate suggests at least 1.3 million rural people have escaped poverty due to growth in the palm oil sector. The areal expansion increased expenditure for low income households and expanded rural public services, specifically road networks and households’ access to electricity.

Keywords: Agriculture, Cash Crops, Plantation, Palm Oil, Oil Palm, Poverty, Economic Development, Indonesia

JEL Classification: C23, C26, I32, Q15, Q18

Suggested Citation

Edwards, Ryan, Tropical Oil Crops and Rural Poverty (April 1, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Ryan Edwards (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

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