, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 173-190
Date: 29 Aug 2009

Technology capital: the price of admission to the growth club

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Abstract

We assess long-run patterns of global agricultural productivity growth between 1970 and 2005 and examine the relationship between investments in technology capital and productivity. To measure agricultural total factor productivity (TFP) we employ a Solow-type growth accounting method to decompose output growth into input and TFP growth. For technology capital we construct two indexes reflecting national capacities in agricultural research and education-extension for 87 developing countries. We then correlate technology capital levels with long-term growth rates in agricultural TFP. Our findings show that global agricultural TFP growth as a whole accelerated since 1980, although performance was very uneven across developing countries. TFP growth rates were significantly influenced by technology capital. Marginal improvements to research capacity, given a minimal level of extension and schooling existed, were associated with faster TFP growth. However, marginal increases in extension-schooling without commensurate improvements in research capacity did not improve productivity performance.

The views expressed do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.