Syed Athar Mehdi
Sources of agricultural productivity
Factors influencing growth in agriculture
Importance of agricultural productivity
Measuring agricultural productivity
Data needs for growth models
US Agricultural productivity
• Agricultural productivity is measured as the ratio of agricultural outputs
to agricultural inputs.
• Output is usually measured as the market value of final output, which
excludes intermediate products such as corn feed used in the meat
• This output value may be compared to many different types of inputs
such as labour and land (yield). These are called partial measures of
• Agricultural productivity may also be measured by what is termed total
factor productivity (TFP).
• This method of calculating agricultural productivity compares an index of
agricultural inputs to an index of outputs.
• This measure of agricultural productivity was established to remedy the
shortcomings of the partial measures of productivity , notably that it is
often hard to identify the factors cause them to change.
• Changes in TFP are usually attributed to technological improvements.
IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY
Growth and competitiveness on agricultural market
Income distribution and saving
More stable food supply
Lower food prices
Increase in wages
Lower opportunity cost
More efficient distribution of scarce sources
Measuring Agricultural Productivity
Index number or growth
Economic estimation of
Data Needs for Growth Models
• Between 1950 and 2000, during the
so-called "second agricultural
revolution of modern times", U.S.
agricultural productivity rose fast,
especially due to the development of
• For example, the average amount of
milk produced per cow increased
from 5,314 pounds to 18,201 pounds
per year (+242%), the average yield
of corn rose from 39 bushels to 153
bushels per acre (+292%), and each
farmer in 2000 produced on average
12 times as much farm output per
hour worked as a farmer did in 1950.
Abramovitz, M. 1956. Resource and output trends in the United States
since 1870. American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings, 46
Ahearn, M., Yee, J., Ball, E. & Nehring, R. 1998. Agricultural
productivity in the United States. Resource Economics Division,
Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Agriculture Information Bulletin no. 740.
Antholt, C.H. 1994. Getting ready for the twenty-first century:
technical change and institutional modernization in agriculture. World
Bank Technical Paper #217. February.
Antle, J. 1983. Infrastructure and aggregate agricultural productivity:
international evidence. Economic Development and Cultural Change,
31 April: 609-619.
Antle, J. & Capalbo, S. 1988. An introduction to recent developments
in production theory and productivity measurement. In S. Capalbo & J.
Antle, eds. Agricultural productivity measurement and explanation.
Washington, DC, Resources for the Future, pp17-35
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