Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Agricultural Economics

Document Type



The agro-fundamentalists consider agriculture as the engine of growth while agro-pessimists argue that economic growth causes agricultural productivity. It is the main engine of growth in agriculture-based countries; less important in transforming economies; and plays the same role as other tradable sectors in urbanized countries (World Bank, 2008). This work revisits agriculture’s role in the development process within the experience of Asia where the majority of the population heavily depends on agriculture. Chapter 2 presents the results of causality tests between agriculture and economic growth in bivariate systems using the TYDL methodology. For some of agriculture-based Asia (Bhutan, Lao, Cambodia and Pakistan), there is evidence to support the agro-fundamentalists view. Mongolia’s economic growth drives agricultural growth. There is no causality running from either direction for Nepal, Vietnam and Bangladesh. No causal relationship between agriculture and economic growth is evident in the transforming economies of Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. Indian and Chinese agriculture contribute to economic growth while the Malaysian economy shows evidence of bidirectional causality. Chapter 3 investigates the impact of agriculture on economic development in the context of an open economy, as measured by the accession to WTO and Trade Freedom Index, by employing an OLS method. The theory predicts that the openness of economies negatively affects the gains in the economic growth from improvement in agricultural productivity. However, this effect is not strong enough to cause a long-run negative relationship between economic growth and agricultural productivity. Further, the effect does not bring large differences in the gains from agricultural productivity between the open and closed economies in most of Asia. Chapter 4 examines the role of agriculture in the Korean economy as it transitioned from a predominantly agricultural to an urbanized economy by employing a VARX method. The impact of agriculture is significantly different between the transforming and urbanized stage with the former producing a greater impact. The effect of agriculture is also dependent on the country’s stages of economic growth, i.e., Korean agriculture contributes to economic growth in transforming Korea, but not in an agriculture-based and urbanized economy.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Kennedy, P. Lynn