The Role of Agriculture in Aggregate Business Cycles
Jose Maria Da Rocha
There are substantial differences in business cycle fluctuations across countries. These differences are systematically related to the share of agriculture in the economy: Countries with a high share of employment in agriculture feature high fluctuations in aggregate output, low relative volatility of aggregate employment, and low correlation of aggregate output and employment. In addition, agriculture has certain distinctive features over the business cycle: Output and employment in agriculture are more volatile than and not positively correlated with output and employment in the rest of the economy and output and employment are less correlated in agriculture than in non-agriculture. Because of these features, agriculture may play a role in accounting for aggregate business cycles across countries. We calibrate an otherwise standard two-sector indivisible-labor business cycle model with agriculture and non-agriculture to aggregate and sectoral data for the United States. We find that an increase in the employment ratio in agriculture from 2 to 30 percent in our model increases fluctuations in aggregate output by almost 40 percent. This is about 2/3 of the difference in aggregate fluctuations between countries such as Turkey and the United States. (Copyright: Elsevier)
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