Three essays on productivity in post-Soviet primary agriculture

Kurkalova, Lyubov
Major Professor
Helen H. Jensen
Committee Member
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Agricultural Education and Studies

The dissertation consists of three essays that analyze relative growth of subsidiary farming and a decline in the production of collective farms in post-Soviet Ukraine. The first two essays consider the change in the production shares of the collective and subsidiary sectors as two interrelated phenomena. The analysis is built on the observation that all the employees of the collective farms have access to subsidiary plots. We analyze whether a shift of labor from collective farming towards subsidiary farming may be explained by a rational reaction of households to income uncertainty (the first essay) and to a decline in wages and increased land availability (the second essay). The third essay identifies human capital and farm organization factors that slowed the decline in production at some collective farms compared with others at the early stages of reforms;The first essay is a theoretical analysis of the effects of uncertainty in income on labor allocation decisions of households that have access to subsidiary plots. An agricultural household model with wage uncertainty is used for the analysis;The second essay combines the theoretical approach of the agricultural household model with empirical evidence to study redistribution of labor between wage work and subsidiary farming in response to a decline in wages. An increase in the share of the gross agricultural output produced at the subsidiary plots is estimated as a function of changes in labor, land, and other input application using official region-level Ukrainian data;In the third essay, we estimate a frontier production function, examine the changes in technical efficiency at the earliest stages of economic reforms, and evaluate the relationship between technical efficiency and farm workforce composition using Ukrainian farm-level survey data;The results help in understanding of economic consequences of the current standstill stage of economic reforms and highlight the importance of labor response considerations when designing policies to support transition agriculture.