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Working Paper 244 - Occupational choice and agricultural labor exits in Sub-Saharan Africa


Economic development is characterized, almost universally, by rising output per agricultural worker and the movement of labor from agriculture to other sectors, which together result in rising incomes and falling incidence of poverty (Timmer 2009). African countries are mostly in the early stages of this structural transformation process, with large cross-sector productivity gaps and large labor shares still in agriculture (Gollin, Lagakos, and Waugh 2014). Recently, though, growth has been observed in annual output per worker across SubSaharan Africa. In the aggregate, labor exits from agriculture to other sectors explain about half of the observed increases in annual output per worker (McMillan and Harttgen 2014).

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