Convergence in Agricultural Labor Productivity and the Intensity of Agri-Food Trade in North, South and Central America
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Publication date: 2014-06-30
GNPJE 2014;271(3):111-131
The paper examines the process of convergence in labor productivity in agriculture among countries that are members of regional trade agreements in North, Central and South America–the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Central American Common Market (CACM), and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) respectively. The authors analyze the intensity of intraregional agri-food trade within these organizations. They use the σ-convergence coefficient to estimate interregional disparities in agricultural labor productivity. Changes in agri-food flows are measured with trade interdependence indices such as the share of intra-regional trade, the intra-regional trade intensity index, and the symmetrical introversion trade indicator. The analysis covers the 1980–2010 period. The study shows that a process of convergence in agricultural labor productivity occurred only in the case of MERCOSUR. Moreover, the authors found that the intensity of intra-regional agri-food trade grew at a slower rate than the intensity of extra-regional trade. This trend was accompanied by the growing role of MERCOSUR in world agri-food trade, according to the authors. In other analyzed groupings, the steady increase in the intensity of intra-regional agri-food trade was not accompanied by changes in the σ-coefficient or there was a process of divergence in agricultural labor productivity, the authors conclude.
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