Zvi Lerman

  • Current position:
    Sir Henry d’Avigdor Goldsmid Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
  • Research interest:
    Institutional change in agriculture in former socialist countries in Europe and Central Asia, including land reform, farm restructuring, and the creation of service cooperatives
  • Website:
  • Affiliations:
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
  • Past positions:
    Consultant and Researcher, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, Policy Research Group, Budapest, Hungary (Mar 1995–Apr 2016)
  • Qualifications:
    PhD in Finance, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1984
  • Personal statement about IZA World of Labor:
    Agriculture is a highly important source of livelihoods for the large rural populations in transition countries. Its share in employment and GDP is much higher than in the Western market economies. I wanted to use the World of Labor to convey the message to policymakers and scholars that the conventional policy of encouraging exits from agriculture in the interest of efficiency is inappropriate for the transition countries with their large rural populations. Instead, policymakers should focus on providing employment opportunities that will keep the rural people profitably occupied in rural areas, without exporting hidden rural unemployment to urban areas, which are already overburdened with their own unemployed
  • Selected publications:
    • Agricultural Transition in Post-Soviet Europe and Central Asia after 25 Years, Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Transition Economies, Vol. 79. Halle: IAMO – Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe, 2015 (co-edited with A. Kimhi).
    • “Agricultural policy in Russia and WTO accession.” Post-Soviet Affairs (July 2013) (with D. Sedik and V. Uzun).
    • “Agricultural development and household incomes in Central Asia: A survey of Tajikistan, 2003–2008.” Eurasian Geography and Economics 50:3 (2009): 301–326 (with D. Sedik).
    • “Farm structure and market constraints: A focus on CEE and CIS countries.” Uniform Law Review 27 (2012): 235–246.
  • Articles

Should agricultural employment in transition economies be encouraged?

Encouraging agricultural employment might reduce rural–urban migration and reduce hidden rural unemployment

January 2017

10.15185/izawol.328 328

by Zvi Lerman Lerman, Z

The increase in agricultural employment in Central Asia and Trans-Caucasus over the last two decades has had a detrimental effect on agricultural labor productivity and rural family incomes. Transition countries in the former USSR cannot, however, encourage exits from agriculture (as, for instance, in east Germany or the Czech Republic) due to the risk of mass rural–urban migration, which may exacerbate growing urban unemployment. With large rural populations, state budgets would be unable to deal with a new wave of unemployed in urban areas.