UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

ARE Researchers Publish New Study in the Journal Food Policy Discussing the Future of Work in the Agri-food System in Developing and Developed Countries

Oct. 14, 2020

ARE Ph.D. candidate Zachariah Rutledge and ARE Distinguished Professor J. Edward Taylor co-authored a recent article for the journal Food Policy which discusses how work on farms and in the non-farm agri-food system (AFS) is changing throughout the world. The paper also examines the role that the AFS can play in the reduction of poverty and gender inequality and how immigration and trade can help promote prosperity. The topic for the paper stems from research presented at “The Future of Work in Agriculture” conference, an international event co-sponsored by UC Davis, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Bank in early 2019 (see https://farmlabor.ucdavis.edu/ for more details).

Explaining some of the key takeaways from their research, the authors stated:

“The structural transformation is a quintessential part of economic development everywhere; people move off the farm and pressure on agriculture grows to feed a growing population. What policies are required to address these issues logically depends on what stage of the development process a country is in and what institutions and social norms are in place. But at the core must lie a policy package that raises labor productivity in agriculture while leveraging the poverty-reducing powers of the AFS, mitigating the social-adjustment costs inherent to this transition, and avoiding the introduction of inefficient policies, such as the closure of borders for agricultural goods and labor…It is undeniable that the future holds far-reaching changes in mechanization and automation in developing and developed countries alike. Without it, agriculture and the AFS generally will not be able to keep up with rising food demands and a declining farm labor supply.”

Click here to view full paper.


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