Human Ecology

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 251-277

Labor Productivity and Agricultural Development: Boserup Revisited

  • Robert C. HuntAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, Brandeis University

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Labor productivity is a major component of agricultural development. Boserup is the scholar most associated with the view that labor productivity declines with intensification of agriculture. This paper reviews the theoretical argument and empirical support for the decline thesis. An empirical test is conducted by means of a comparative study of traditional rice agriculture in Southeast Asia. The decline thesis is rejected. The implications for agricultural development are discussed.

agricultural development labor productivity technology Southeast Asia rice