Agricultural Productivity, Technological Change, and Deforestation: A
Michael Brady* and Brent Sohngen†
This study takes advantages of recent developments in measuring total factor productivity in
output specific directions to examine the influence of technological change in different
agricultural sectors on land-use decisions in a cross-section of countries from 1969 to 2001.
Results demonstrate a positive relationship between productivity and land in agriculture in
most cases. The ruminant sector is an exception where an increase in productivity was
negatively associated with amount of pastureland. The analysis also includes variables that
have been found to be important determinants in other studies of land-use change.
Population is clearly the dominant factor over the time period analyzed, although it is argued
that other factors are likely to become more important in upcoming years since population
growth has slowed significantly in many countries.
Selected Paper prepared for presentation at the American Agricultural Economics
Association Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, July 27-29, 2008.
* Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1800 M Street, NW,
Washington DC, 20036. Please do not cite, reproduce, or distribute without permission of
the authors. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily correspond
to the views or policies of the Economic Research Service or the U.S. Department of
Dept. of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, Ohio State University,
2120 Fyffe Road, Columbus, OH 43212.
In this study we examine the relationship between land-use change and agricultural
productivity in a large cross-section of countries over 4 decades to estimate the relationship
between technological change in agriculture and deforestation. The demand for agricultural
production is going to continue to increase as the population appro