Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Chapter 5 in E.C. Teixeira and M.J. Braga, (eds.), Institutions and Economic Developmet, Vicosa, MG, Brasil, Os Editores, 2007, pp. 139-170.


We revisit earlier estimates of agricultural productivity in original Mercosur member countries and later associates: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, for 1972-2002. We estimate a translog frontier production function and revise our earlier estimates as well as those of others that indicated declining agricultural productivity. We find that the average rate for the region was a strong 2.25 percent. All the member countries experienced positive agricultural productivity growth for the sample period with Brazil being the fastest gainer. Institutions such as investments in public health and in public agricultural R&D, as well as an economic environment conducive to trade with the rest of the world are associated to differential performance across countries.