UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

UCD ARE and Biological and Agricultural Engineering Collaborate on Farm Labor Research in Two New Journal Articles

May 31, 2019

The two articles, “Can Wages Rise Quickly Enough to Keep Workers in the Fields?” and “Innovations for a Shrinking Agricultural Workforce” appear in the latest issue of Choices, the outreach journal of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. They were co-authored by UCD ARE professor J. Edward Taylor; Stavros Vougioukas, associate professor of UCD Biological and Agricultural Engineering; Diane Charlton, UCD ARE PhD and assistant professor of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University; and Zachariah Rutledge, current PhD student in UCD ARE. In the first article, the authors show that the supply of farm workers from Mexico is declining, and U.S. nominal farm wages would have to rise by more than 30% over 10 years to keep the farm labor supply constant. Rising wages create incentives for the development and adoption of new labor-saving technologies. The second article examines farmers’ decisions to adopt labor-saving technologies with potentially high up-front adoption costs, and it documents the expected labor savings associated with several innovations that are “on the shelf” or under development. This research was also featured in the Spring/Summer issue of Outlook Magazine.


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