A new method of agricultural growth accounting

Agriculture plays a fundamental role in human history and has always been integral to world development; agricultural growth is an essential condition or precondition for the growth of the whole economy. Before the 20th century, agricultural growth was typically driven by input growth, especially the expansion in workforces and in cultivated land. By the end of the century, however, increasing productivity came to predominate, given the decrease in the agricultural labor force and the limited amount of arable land around the world. How can we know what drives agricultural growth? The methodology of growth accounting has been widely used to calculate the contribution from changes in inputs and the contribution due to total factor productivity (TFP, the ratio of aggregate output to aggregate inputs).

Photo credit: Mikkel Ostergaard/Panos