15 Feb 2012

Supply and Demand Side Limitations Affecting the Structure of Agriculture and Rural Economy

Barbara Tocco / Sophia Davidova / Alastair Bailey

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The paper criticises the neo-classical assumptions of perfect factor markets and of complete information, which constitute central elements in labour market theory. Based on literature review and on economic reports from transition economies, as well as developing countries and more advanced economies, this deliverable focuses on the structural impediments and imperfections which often characterise rural labour markets and which may prevent an efficient allocation of labour. According to empirical studies, transactions costs and rigidities hinder the well-functioning of labour markets and constrain labour adjustments. The paper attempts to classify the various limitations of rural labour markets from both supply and demand side, although the distinction is not always clear-cut as some problems occur on both sides. The identification of these issues is extremely important as it allows us to highlight the inefficiencies and the failures in labour markets and to understand their impact on labour allocation. In this context, market intervention is desirable and the paper provides particular support for rural development policies such as investments in human capital. Lastly, labour institutions can play a key role in promoting the well functioning of labour markets, thus it is fundamental that they are well in place.

The authors are researchers at the School of Economics, University of Kent.