U.S. agricultural productivity: A review of USDA economic research service methods

C. Richard Shumway*, Barbara M. Fraumeni, Lilyan E. Fulginiti, Jon D. Samuels, Spiro E. Stefanou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The USDA Economic Research Service has emerged as an acknowledged intellectual leader in the construction and integration of national and state-level productivity accounts in agriculture. The national and state-level ERS productivity measures are widely referred to and used, and international sectoral comparisons rely on the ERS production accounts for foundation methodology in constructing agricultural productivity accounts in other countries. This leadership role has endured for many decades and accelerated in response to the AAEA-USDA Task Force review of the agricultural productivity accounts (Gardner et al. 1980). It is against this backdrop of vigorous intellectual leadership that an external review committee has examined the data sources, methodology, ongoing research, documentation, and reporting of the ERS agricultural productivity accounts. Our recommendations are many and some are substantial. Two of the most important recommendations address overarching concerns of documentation and efficiency, two more consider website communication of methods and data, and four focus on the renewal and construction of the state-level accounts.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberppv032
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2015


  • Agricultural productivity
  • Economic research service
  • Program review
  • Total factor productivity

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