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Geography and Agricultural Productivity: Cross-Country Evidence from Micro Plot-Level Data

Diego Restuccia () and Tasso Adamopoulos
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Tasso Adamopoulos: York University

No 1180, 2017 Meeting Papers from Society for Economic Dynamics

Abstract: What accounts for the extremely low agricultural productivity in poor countries? We assess the quantitative role of geography and land quality for agricultural productivity differences across countries using high-resolution micro-geography data and a simple spatial accounting framework. Our rich spatial data provide in each plot of land covering the entire globe actual yields for crops produced and potential yields for 18 main crops that account for soil quality, climate conditions, and terrain topography. There is considerable heterogeneity in land quality across space, even within narrow geographic regions. Yet, we find that low agricultural productivity in poor countries is not due to poor land endowments. If countries produced current crops according to potential yields, the rich-poor agricultural yield gap would virtually disappear, from more than 200 percent to less than 5 percent. If in addition countries produced in each location the crop with the highest potential yield, the yield gap turns into a gain of 23 percent. Our evidence indicates that the rich-poor yield gap is mostly due to low efficiency in producing existing crops within plots in poor countries, with a smaller role for the composition of crops within plots and the distribution of crop production across plots within countries.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-dev and nep-eff
Date: 2017
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https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2017/paper_1180.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: Geography and Agricultural Productivity: Cross-Country Evidence from Micro Plot-Level Data (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: Geography and Agricultural Productivity: Cross-Country Evidence from Micro Plot-Level Data (2018) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:red:sed017:1180

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