Last week I gave a talk at the University of Nebraska, and Julian Alston from UC Davis was also there. He presented some recent research with Matt Anderson and Phil Pardey about productivity growth in agriculture. While I have seen some discussions about the possibility of a slowdown in productivity growth in developing countries, Alston's research suggest it is a phenomenon alive and well here at home. This is important stuff. Falling productivity growth has important implications for sustainability, food security, and research and development. They write:
Here's a graph from their paper showing the change in proportional growth rate in yields (i.e., the log of yields) over time for 6 crops with the inflection point indicated for when growth rates began decelerating.