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Keywords:

  • O13
  • agricultural development;
  • productivity;
  • rural income;
  • economic growth

Abstract

Underlying factors in the growth of agriculture as a sector and of rural incomes in developing countries are investigated, using data from 85 countries during 1960–2001. Hypotheses about growth are derived from both the general growth literature and the empirical literature on past agricultural growth in the United States and other industrial countries. The growth of agriculture as a sector is surprisingly independent of the growth of income per capita for those who work in that sector. Neither is necessary nor sufficient for the other. Agricultural economics is in many circumstances not the key discipline in understanding the economics of rural income and poverty.