Journal Article

The Agricultural Productivity Gap

Douglas Gollin, David Lagakos and Michael E. Waugh

in The Quarterly Journal of Economics

Published on behalf of President and Fellows of Harvard University

Volume 129, issue 2, pages 939-993
Published in print May 2014 | ISSN: 0033-5533
Published online December 2013 | e-ISSN: 1531-4650 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/qje/qjt056

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  • Macroeconomics: Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
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According to national accounts data, value added per worker is much higher in the nonagricultural sector than in agriculture in the typical country, particularly in developing countries. Taken at face value, this “agricultural productivity gap” suggests that labor is greatly misallocated across sectors. In this article, 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: E01; E24; J61; O11; O13; O15; O18; O41; R11

Journal Article.  17899 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Macroeconomics: Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment ; Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics ; Economic Development ; Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity ; Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics ; Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies