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Agricultural Growth and Productivity

Project coordinator:  Donald F. Larson 
In modern times, economic development has been closely aligned with the transformation of agrarian societies. This process is driven in part by improved technologies and accumulations of private human and physical capital and the build-up of public investments in research, infrastructure and institutions. One transformational outcome is the migration of workers from agriculture to other sectors and improved productivity within agriculture. Even so, this process has been uneven, with some countries, communities and families falling behind. And so, despite tremendous advances in agricultural science, it is still the case that most of the world’s poor live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihood.

The following research activities focus on understanding barriers that stand in the way of more productive agricultural sectors and improved rural livelihoods.

Determinants of agricultural productivity and rural livelihoods
This area of research focuses on the role policy can have on the technologies and livelihood strategies that farmers adopt and the consequences of those decisions on incomes. The studies are comparative, examining the explanations for productivity differences that are apparent among countries and also among farmers within countries. 
Journal articles and book chapters

Risk and commodity markets
The success of agricultural policies relies heavily on how well markets work in creating opportunities and mitigating risks. This includes formal and informal markets for outputs, inputs and risk. Rural land, water and credit markets are especially important and are the subject of separate research efforts (link to subtopics). This research focuses on how well distribution markets work in rural space, policies regarding how risk is managed in rural areas, and the potential role formal markets for insurance and price risk. 
Journal articles and book chapters

African Green Revolution: Finding ways to boost productivity
This looks at how public investments and policies can boost agricultural productivity in Africa. The research will examine how Africa’s geography may limit the applicability of technologies that spurred green revolutions in Asia and Latin America and explore whether a set of technologies currently exist that could transform African agriculture. The study will also try to identify the roles household, community, market and endowment characteristics play in shaping the range of farming methods currently in use.

 World Bank Policy Research Working Papers

(Please use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader PDF to view PDF files)
The following policy research working papers are drawn from the World Bank's institutional archives. Each link opens a page with an abstract of the document and several download options. Search all Working Papers


WPS6190Should African rural development strategies depend on smallholder farms ? an exploration of the inverse productivity hypothesisLarson, Donald F.; Otsuka, Keijiro; Matsumoto, Tomoya; Kilic, Talip2012/09
WPS6031Food security and storage in the Middle East and North AfricaLarson, Donald F.; Lampietti, Julian; Gouel, Christophe; Cafiero, Carlo; Roberts, John2012/04
WPS5717Can diaries help improve agricultural production statistics ? Evidence from UgandaDeininger, Klaus; Carletto, Calogero; Savastano, Sara; Muwonge, James2011/06
WPS5621Agriculture and the clean development mechanismLarson, Donald F.; Dinar, Ariel; Frisbie, J. Aapris2011/04
WPS5478Can Africa replicate Asia's green revolution in rice ?Larson, Donald F.; Otsuka, Keijiro; Kajisa, Kei; Estudillo, Jonna; Diagne, Aliou2010/11

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