A Century of US Farm Productivity Growth: A Surge then a Slowdown. Andersen, M. A, Alston, J. M, Pardey, P. G, & Smith, A. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 100(4):1072–1090, Oxford University Press, 2018.
A Century of US Farm Productivity Growth: A Surge then a Slowdown [pdf]Paper  abstract   bibtex   8 downloads  
U.S. farm productivity growth has direct consequences for sustainably feeding the world's still rapidly growing population, as well as U.S. competitiveness in international markets. Using a newly expanded compilation of multifactor productivity (MFP) estimates and associated partial‐factor productivity (PFP) measures, we examine changes in the pattern of U.S. agricultural productivity growth over the past century and more. Considering the evidence as a whole, we detect sizable and significant slowdowns in the rate of productivity growth in recent decades. U.S. multifactor productivity grew at an annual average rate of just 1.16% per year during 1990–2007 compared with 1.42% per year for the period 1910–2007. U.S. yields of major crops grew at an annual average rate of 1.17% per year for 1990–2009 compared with 1.81% per year for 1936–1990. More subtly, but with potentially profound implications, the relatively high rates of MFP growth during the third quarter of the century are an historical aberration relative to the long‐run trend.

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