Rural Labour Market Developments, Agricultural Productivity, and Real Wages in Bangladesh, 1950–2006

Publication Year : 2008

This paper provides an overview of recent developments in rural labour markets in Bangladesh and also examines the trends and movements of agricultural productivity and real wages with annual data for the period 1950–2006. The paper links the movements of agricultural real wages to macroeconomic developments in general and agricultural development in particular. As part of empirical investigation, the paper develops a simple model of agricultural real wages that depend on agricultural productivity. In order to examine the long-run relationship between agricultural productivity and real wages, the paper applies the Autoregressive Distributed Lag Bounds testing approach. Empirical results suggest that there exists a long-run relationship between agricultural productivity and real wages, and that agricultural productivity can be treated as a ‘long-run forcing variable’ in explaining agricultural real wages. In the dynamic specification of real wages, the coefficient on oneperiod lagged error-correction term bears the expected negative sign and is significant. The forecasting ability of the error correction model is satisfactory with respect to the level or the percentage change of real wages. The overall results are consistent with the findings of earlier studies that agricultural productivity is a key determinant of real wages in Bangladesh.