Education Accelerating the Agricultural Transition: Panel Data Analysis of Rural Mexico

Diane Charlton, University of California, Davis

Economic theory shows that education is critical to economic development, yet there is little research to indicate whether access to education plays a role in the agricultural transformation, the stage of development when an economy shifts from primarily agriculture to non-agriculture. This study uses 31 years of village panel data nationally representative of rural Mexico and exogenous shifts in access to secondary school to identify the marginal impact of a year of education on the probability of working in agriculture and the probability of migrating. The findings show that investing in education does significantly reduce the probability of working in agriculture. However, I do not find significant impacts of education on labor mobility. These findings identify a route by which education promotes development, indicate that advances in education can be expected to precipitate changes in the rural labor supply, and demonstrate how education can promote improved labor opportunities.

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 Presented in Session 24. Labor Markets, Population, and Development