nep-agr New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2006‒02‒12
nine papers chosen by
Angelo Zago
Universita degli Studi di Verona

  1. Global Retail Chains and Poor Farmers: Evidence from Madagascar By Bart Minten; Lalaina Randrianarison; Johan F.M. Swinnen
  2. Foreign Investment, Supermarkets, and the Restructuring of Supply Chains: Evidence from Eastern European Dairy Sectors By Johan F.M. Swinnen; Liesbeth Dries; Nivelin Noeva; Etleva Germenjia
  3. Land, labour and market forces in Tokugawa Japan By Osamu Saito
  4. Labor Contracts, Incentives, and Food Security in Rural Myanmar By Takashi Kurosaki
  5. Child Labor, Urban Proximity and Household Composition By Marcel Fafchamps; Jackline Wahba
  6. Guidelines for Building Sustainable Market Information Systems in Africa with Strong Public-Private Partnerships By Michael T. Weber; Cynthia Donovan; John M. Staatz; Niama Nango Dembélé
  7. Broadband Access, Telecommuting and the Urban-Rural Digital Divide By Song, Moohoun; Orazem, Peter; Singh, Rajesh
  8. Environmental policies relating to the use of pesticides: proximities and innovations (In French) By Véronique SAINT GES (E3i-IFReDE-GRES & INRA)
  9. Efficiency and Productivity Changes of the Italian Agrifood Cooperatives: a Malmquist Index Analysis By Andrea BONFIGLIO

  1. By: Bart Minten; Lalaina Randrianarison; Johan F.M. Swinnen
    Abstract: Global retail companies (“supermarkets”) have an increasing influence on developing countries, through foreign investments and/or through the imposition of their private standards. The impact on developing countries and poverty is often assessed as negative. In this paper we show the opposite, based on an analysis of primary data collected to measure the impact of supermarkets on small contract farmers in Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world. Almost 10,000 farmers in the Highlands of Madagascar produce vegetables for supermarkets in Europe. In this global supply chain, small farmers’ micro-contracts are combined with extensive farm assistance and supervision programs to fulfill complex quality requirements and phyto-sanitary standards of supermarkets. Small farmers that participate in these contracts have higher welfare, more income stability and shorter lean periods. We also find significant effects on improved technology adoption, better resource management and spillovers on the productivity of the staple crop rice. The small but emerging modern retail sector in Madagascar does not (yet) deliver these benefits as they do not (yet) request the same high standards for their supplies.
    Date: 2006
  2. By: Johan F.M. Swinnen; Liesbeth Dries; Nivelin Noeva; Etleva Germenjia
    Abstract: The combination of transition and globalization since the early 1990s has caused dramatic changes in supply chains globally. This paper uses survey evidence from several Eastern European countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Russia) on how these forces affect the dairy sector. In many countries dairy farms are small family farms. Investments by foreign companies in processing and retailing and the opening to international markets have introduced higher standards, leading, in turn, to extensive contracting and vertical coordination in the dairy chain. In countries close to the EU the restructuring of the dairy chain was mostly driven by investments in dairy processing, while in countries further from the EU, and less advanced in transition, retail investments are playing a more important role in driving change throughout the dairy chain. There have been significant efficiency gains, and the vertical coordination had positive effects on farm investments and productivity, especially since the late 1990s. Evidence suggests that small dairy farms have generally benefited from the vertical coordination processes.
    Date: 2006
  3. By: Osamu Saito
    Abstract: Tokugawa Japan was a land of peasants who accounted for 80 per cent of the population. This percentage may suggest that land was hardly a commodity while the size of the workforce in industry and trade was small. Under Tokugawa rule (1603-1868) institutional frameworks for land and labour markets were never favourable for the flexible use of land and people as factors of production. However, given a recent consensus that Tokugawa Japan achieved Smithian growth, a gradual process of market-led output growth, with rural industrialisation and agricultural improvements as major engines of progress, how could such a picture of factor markets be consistent with the rural-centred growth scenario? In order to answer this question, the paper will go over land and labour markets in traditional Japan. It will be shown that the market size for both land and labour was actually small, yet that the factor markets that existed functioned well, so well that market forces must have played an indispensable part in the process of Tokugawa Japan's Smithian growth.
    Date: 2006–01
  4. By: Takashi Kurosaki
    Abstract: This paper develops an agency model of contract choice in the hiring of labor and then uses the model to estimate the determinants of contract choice in rural Myanmar. As a salient feature relevant for the agricultural sector in a low income country such as Myanmar, the agency model incorporates considerations of food security and incentive effects. It is shown that when, possibly due to poverty, food considerations are important for employees, employers will prefer a labor contract with wages paid in kind (food) to one with wages paid in cash. At the same time, when output is responsive to workers' effort and labor monitoring is costly, employers will prefer a contract with piecerate wages to one with hourly wages. The case of sharecropping can be understood as a combination of the two: a labor contract with piecerate wages paid in kind. The predictions of the theoretical model are tested using a crosssection dataset collected in rural Myanmar through a sample household survey which was conducted in 2001 and covers diverse agroecological environments. The estimation results are consistent with the theoretical predictions: wages are more likely to be paid in kind when the share of staple food in workers' budget is higher and the farmland on which they produce food themselves is smaller; piecerate wages are more likely to be adopted when work effort is more difficult to monitor and the farming operation requires quick completion.
    Keywords: contract, incentive, selection, food security, Myanmar
    JEL: J33 Q12 O12
    Date: 2006–01
  5. By: Marcel Fafchamps (University of Oxford); Jackline Wahba (University of Southampton and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: Using detailed survey data from Nepal, this paper examines the determinants of child labor with a special emphasis on urban proximity. We find that children residing in or near urban centers attend school more and work less in total but are more likely to be involved in wage work or in a small business. The larger the urban center, the stronger the effect is. Urban proximity is found to reduce the workload of children and improve school attendance up to 3 hours of travel time from the city. In areas of commercialized agriculture located 3 to 7 hours from the city, children do more farm work. Urban proximity effects are accounted for by a combination of local labor supply and demand conditions, most notably the local importance of agriculture, the education level of the parents, and the local wage rate. Child servants, which represent a small proportion of all children, work much harder than other children and appear particularly at risk.
    Keywords: child labour, Nepal, child schooling, urban proximity
    JEL: J10 J22 J24 J40 N35
    Date: 2006–02
  6. By: Michael T. Weber (Department of Agricultural Economics, Michigan State University); Cynthia Donovan; John M. Staatz; Niama Nango Dembélé
    Abstract: This paper contains policy messages for six essential factors for successful design and implementation market information systems in Africa.
    Keywords: food security, food policy, market information systems
    JEL: Q18
    Date: 2005
  7. By: Song, Moohoun; Orazem, Peter; Singh, Rajesh
    Abstract: We investigate the role of broadband access on the probability of telecommuting and whether individuals who work from home receive greater compensation. We also assess whether telecommuting differs between more- and less-densely populated areas. Telecommuting responds positively to local average commuting time and to local access to High-Speed Internet service. Differences in broadband access explain three-fourths of the gap in telecommuting between urban and rural markets. Telecommuters and other IT users do not earn significantly more than otherwise observationally comparable workers. Already highly skilled and highly paid workers are the most likely to telecommute and so they do not earn more because they telecommute. As broadband access improves in rural markets, the urban-rural gap in telecommuting will diminish. The urban-rural pay gap will also decrease if improved broadband access induces some already highly paid urban workers to move to rural areas.
    Keywords: Broadband, Telecommuting, Commuting, Earnings, Urban, Rural
    JEL: O3
    Date: 2006–02–02
  8. By: Véronique SAINT GES (E3i-IFReDE-GRES & INRA)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to question the cognitive capitalism hypothesis: are the major transformations of the wage labour nexus and regime of accumulation, created a new capitalism era? A positive answer to this question then relegates to a second rank the thesis of financial capitalism. For this last thesis, the financialisation of accumulation deeply transforms the firms. This paper develops this second point of view. Our conclusion is disappointing for the cognitive capitalism hypothesis. If the production of knowledge is important for the accumulation, nevertheless this production of knowledge is subordinated to the view of global finance. Indeed, it’s this global finance who decides which are new profitable activities.
    Keywords: Collective action, Environmental technologies, Technology diffusion, Geographical proximity, organized proximity, vine growing.
    JEL: O13 Q16 Q Q
    Date: 2006
  9. By: Andrea BONFIGLIO
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to analyse efficiency and productivity changes of a sample of Italian agrifood cooperatives in the period 2000-2002. Towards this aim, a three-stage analysis is carried out. Firstly, a Data Envelopment Analysis approach is used to estimate technical and pure efficiency scores. Secondly, DEA-based Malmquist indices are calculated to analyse inter-temporal productivity changes. Thirdly, a Tobit regression analysis is carried out to identify the reasons for the differences existing among the cooperatives in terms of technical efficiency. The main results are as follows. The overall efficiency of the agrifood cooperatives is not particularly high: the technical efficiency and the managerial efficiency are, on average, 35% and 63% of the "relative" optimal ones, respectively. In the period analysed, productivity improves by about 2% due to a positive technological change. The technical efficiency worsens because of deterioration of scale efficiency attenuated by an increase in managerial efficiency. Milk and zootechnic cooperatives show the highest average levels of technical and pure efficiency. Their productivity increased in the period considered, owing to improvements in both managerial and scale efficiency. Wine cooperatives present the lowest average levels of technical and pure efficiency. Moreover, their productivity decreased due to a worsening of managerial capabilities. Fruit and vegetables and oil cooperatives represent middle situations. Finally, technical efficiency seems to be affected positively by the scale, technology, structural elasticity and middle-long term balance whilst is negatively affected by financial exposure.
    Keywords: Malmquist index, Tobit regression analysis, agrifood cooperatives, data envelopment analysis, efficiency
    JEL: C14 C24 O40 Q13
    Date: 2006–02

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