Diane Charlton

 Diane  Charlton

Agricultural and Resource Economics

Office: 1162 Social Science and Humanities
Personal Website: http://dicharlton.weebly.com/

Research Interests

  • Agricultural Economics
  • Development Economics
  • Labor and Migration


Diane Charlton is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis. Her areas of interest are labor, migration, and agricultural economics. Her dissertation investigates the causes and consequences of the agricultural transition in rural Mexico. Worldwide, as economies develop and per capita incomes rise, the share of individuals working in agriculture rapidly decreases. This transition of labor out of agriculture is currently occurring in rural Mexico.

Diane uses household panel data nationally representative of rural Mexico with work histories from 1980 to 2010 to identify the trend in the probability of working in agriculture from rural Mexico. She then unpacks the trend into its primary components, including employment growth in Mexican non-farm industries, rising education, and declining birth rates in rural Mexico. These factors significantly pull and push labor out of agriculture. Her findings show that increases in U.S. farm wages increase the probability of working in agriculture, but its impact is relatively small. As individuals from rural Mexico move out of agriculture, U.S. and Mexican farmers will have to compete for a diminishing farm labor supply. U.S. immigration policies are expected to influence where workers locate, but they do not reverse the trend of rural Mexicans out of agriculture.

To better understand the role of education in the agricultural transition, her research next identifies the impact of children’s access to a local secondary school on the probability of working in agriculture as an adult. She finds that government policies to build schools and promote education significantly reduce the probability that children grow up to work in agriculture, accelerating the transition of labor out of agriculture. In the coming year, she plans to continue researching questions related to farm labor and migration by modeling the demand for farm labor in California. She was awarded the UC Davis Provost’s Fellowship in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences for the 2015-2016 school year.

Relevant Research for the Migration Research Cluster

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