Productivity and the Performance of Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: From the Lost Decade to the Commodity Boom

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September 2015
Paper author(s): 
Alejandro Nin-Prat
Cesar Falconi
Carlos E. Ludena
Pedro Martel
Agricultural - Natural Resource Economics

This study employs a growth accounting approach to analyze the performance of Latin America and the Caribbean’s agriculture between 1980 and 2012 looking at Total Factor Productivity growth and its contribution to output per worker. Our findings show that TFP in 2012 was 45 percent bigger than in 1980, reducing the difference between TFP in LAC and in OECD countries. Observed growth patterns at the country level suggest that countries that increased input per worker have increased TFP at a higher rate than countries with limited access to capital and land. As a result of these growth patterns, the improved performance in the region has increased differences in labor productivity between countries. Growing differences in labor productivity and the fact that the favorable shock in commodity prices that benefited LAC’s agriculture in recent years has apparently ran its course, raise concerns for the future. 


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