Feeding the World: An Economic History of Agriculture, 1800-2000 by Giovanni FedericoFeeding the World: An Economic History of Agriculture, 1800-2000 by Giovanni Federico

Feeding the World: An Economic History of Agriculture, 1800-2000

byGiovanni Federico

Paperback | December 7, 2008

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In the last two centuries, agriculture has been an outstanding, if somewhat neglected, success story. Agriculture has fed an ever-growing population with an increasing variety of products at falling prices, even as it has released a growing number of workers to the rest of the economy. This book, a comprehensive history of world agriculture during this period, explains how these feats were accomplished.



Feeding the World synthesizes two hundred years of agricultural development throughout the world, providing all essential data and extensive references to the literature. It covers, systematically, all the factors that have affected agricultural performance: environment, accumulation of inputs, technical progress, institutional change, commercialization, agricultural policies, and more. The last chapter discusses the contribution of agriculture to modern economic growth. The book is global in its reach and analysis, and represents a grand synthesis of an enormous topic.

Giovanni Federico is Professor of Economic History at the European University Institute. He has written extensively on Italian and comparative economic history, with special attention on agriculture, trade, and trade policy. He is the author of An Economic History of the Silk Industry and the coauthor of The Growth of the Italian Econ...
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Title:Feeding the World: An Economic History of Agriculture, 1800-2000Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pagesPublished:December 7, 2008Publisher:Princeton University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0691138532

ISBN - 13:9780691138534

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

List of Tables ix

Preface xiii





Chapter One: Introduction 1





Chapter Two: Why Is Agriculture Different? 5

2.1 Introduction 5

2.2 Agriculture and the Environment: An Uneasy Relationship 5

2.3 Factor Endowment and the Characteristics of Agriculture 13





Chapter Three: Trends in the Long Run 16

3.1 Introduction 16

3.2 Output 16

3.3 Prices 21

3.4 The Composition of Agricultural Output 26

3.5 Trade 28





Chapter Four: Patterns of Growth: The Inputs 31

4.1 Introduction 31

4.2 Land 31

4.3 Capital 40

4.4 Labor 56

4.5 Conclusion: Factor Endowment and
Factor Prices in the Long Run 64





Chapter Five: The Causes of Growth: The Increase in Productivity 69

5.1 Introduction 69

5.2 The Productivity of Land and Labor 70

5.3 The Total Factor Productivity 74

5.4 Conclusion: On the Interpretation of Total Factor Productivity Growth 82





Chapter Six: Technical Progress in Agriculture 83

6.1 Introduction: Productivity Growth and Technical Progress 83

6.2 The Major Innovations 84

6.3 The Macroeconomics of Innovations: Factor Prices and Technical Progress 93

6.4 The Microeconomics of Agricultural Innovation: Appropriability, Complementarity, Environment, and Risk 101

6.5 The Microeconomics of Agricultural Innovation: Research Institutions and Technical Progress 105

6.6 Conclusion: On the Causes of Technical Progress 114





Chapter Seven: The Microeconomics of Agricultural Institutions 117

7.1 Introduction: What Are the Institutions, and Why Should We Care about Them? 117

7.2 Property Rights 118

7.3 The "Structure": Matching Land and Labor 121

7.4 Finding the Money: Formal and Informal Credit 128

7.5 The Co-operative: The Best of All Possible Worlds? 133

7.6 Conclusion: Is There an "Ideal" Farm? 136





Chapter Eight: Agricultural Institutions and Growth 143

8.1 Introduction 143

8.2 Prelude: The Establishing of Modern Property Rights 144

8.3 Meddling with Property Rights: Land Reform and Other Structural Interventions 149

8.4 The "Structural" Change in the Long Run 152

8.5 The Development of Markets 160

8.6 Self-help: The Growth of the Co-operative Movement 168

8.7 Institutions and Agricultural Growth: The Creation of Property Rights and "Structural" Interventions 172

8.8 Institutions and Agricultural Growth: Landownership, Farm Size, and Contracts 177

8.9 Institutions and Agricultural Growth: The Development of Markets 181

8.10 Conclusion: Did Institutions Really Matter? 186





Chapter Nine: The State and the Market 187

9.1 Introduction: On the Design of Agricultural Policies 187

9.2 Before 1914: The Era of Laissez Faire 189

9.3 The Interwar Years: The Great Discontinuity 191

9.4 The OECD Countries after 1945: The Era of Surpluses 196

9.5 The Less Developed Countries after Independence: The Green Revolution and the "Development" Policies 201

9.6 The Socialist Countries 205

9.7 On the Effects of Agricultural Policies 211

9.8 Conclusion: The Political Economy of Agricultural Policies 215





Chapter Ten: Conclusions: Agriculture and Economic Growth in the Long Run 221

10.1 Fifteen Stylized Facts 221

10.2 Agriculture and Economic Growth: Some Theory 222

10.3 Agriculture and Economic Growth: Debates and Historical Evidence 226

10.4 Concluding Remarks: A Look to the Future 231

Statistical Appendix 233





Notes 251

Bibliography 325

Index 381


Editorial Reviews

"In the past two centuries, farm production has grown faster than the population, so we now produce enough food to abolish hunger around most of the globe. Federico has done a monumental job in documenting the growth of agricultural output, inputs, and productivity on a world scale. This book will be of great interest to all those interested in the interplay between humanity and the natural environment, as well as to historians, development specialists, and policy makers."-Robert Allen, University of Oxford