The noted economist Yair Mundlak presents here a theory of the growth of the agricultural sector within the context of a growing economy. He explores the various aspects of the dynamics of agriculture and their relationship to the dynamics of the economy at large, offering a unique blend of theory, methodology, and empirical analysis.
The rate of agricultural growth has varied across countries and over time, even though the main innovations in agricultural technology have been made available to all countries. Consequently, the difference in performance is due to the use made of the available technology. Mundlak treats the implementation of technology as an economic decision similar to decisions about resource supply and allocation. The development of agriculture, like that of other sectors, is determined to a large degree by the economic environment, especially public policies. This framework permits the author to evaluate the effects of policies on growth by examining their effects on sectoral incentives. Mundlak shows that neutral macroeconomic policies may have a stronger effect on sectoral growth than sector-specific policies.
The book contains problem sets, and will be a reference and text for graduate-level courses.
All economists working in agriculture or technical change could benefit from reading this work. Agriculture and Economic Growth covers more aspects of the modern economics of agriculture and its place in the growing economy than any other volume I know. Mundlak's integration of theory and empirical application is very impressive, and the combination of depth and clarity with which he treats his subject makes this book a tour de force and a rare pleasure to read.
Agriculture and Economic Growth represents a definitive treatment of the major theoretical issues involved in the field of agricultural development. The issues are treated analytically. The implications of the analytical treatment are carefully specified. The results of earlier work are reviewed and the results interpreted within the analytical framework.
Mundlak's overall approach and many of his specific results are original and unique. Maintaining an empirical orientation in the context of a tightly developed model, he analyzes the central issues in estimating agricultural production and supply functions, with reference to both the U.S. and developing countries. This is a very impressive body of work, and many scholars will be glad to have Mundlak's work consolidated and developed in this way.
- 504 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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