Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Farm Size

Contents:

Author Info

  • Eastwood, Robert
  • Lipton, Michael
  • Newell, Andrew

Abstract

What patterns can be discerned in the distribution of farm sizes across countries and over time? How does the behavior of individual economic agents interact with the natural environment and general economic development to affect farm size? How has concerted human intervention, understood as national and supranational policy actions, altered these outcomes? We find that operated farm size rises with economic development, especially in the 20th century, with marked exceptions: large farms in Latin America and Southern Africa; small farms in parts of Northwest Europe; diminishing farm size in South Asia. Despite increased scale, in many advanced countries the family remains the main source of farm labor. Hired labor supervision costs tend to favor family farming as the equilibrium institution. Theory suggests that the family farm will typically become larger with economic development, but its efficiency advantage over the agroindustrial enterprise will decline. Sufficiently land-augmenting technical advances can upset the relationship between development and equilibrium scale, as in the Green Revolution. Concerted intervention can also cause departures from such equilibria. Colonial land grabs have led to inefficiently large farms, with market forces and land reform subsequently reducing average size after decolonization. Greater land rights have thereby raised the rural poor's income, status, and power, but farmland collectivizations, and much farm tenancy reform, have largely failed to achieve this goal. However, classic land reforms, and some decollectivizations, have proved more incentive-compatible and have distributed large land areas among many small family-managed units. Farm size is, in principle, also affected by net taxes on farm production (mostly negative in OECD, mostly positive in developing countries, though reduced), but such effects remain empirically elusive. Globalization and liberalization--effects via relative prices aside--have induced institutional changes that are not neutral with respect to farm size. These include supermarkets' increased role in the supply chain.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B7P5B-4X49J18-9/2/1d7094d6b8643ac13db4fded0fc4d6b2
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

as in new window

This chapter was published in:

  • Robert Evenson & Prabhu Pingali (ed.), 2010. "Handbook of Agricultural Economics," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 4, number 1, 00.
    This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Agricultural Economics with number 6-65.

    Handle: RePEc:eee:hagchp:6-65

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookseriesdescription.cws_home/BS_HE/description

    Related research

    Keywords: farm size; land reform; small farms; family farms;

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Ellen Aabø & Thomas Kring, 2012. "The Political Economy of Large-Scale Agricultural Land Acquisitions: Implications for Food Security and Livelihoods/Employment Creation in Rural Mozambique," Working Papers 2012-004, United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Africa (UNDP/RBA).
    2. Holden, Stein & Otsuka, Keijiro, 2013. "The Roles of Land Tenure Reforms and Land Markets in the Context of Population Growth and Land Use Intensification in Africa," CLTS Working Papers 15/13, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
    3. Carletto, Calogero & Savastano, Sara & Zezza, Alberto, 2013. "Fact or artifact: The impact of measurement errors on the farm size–productivity relationship," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 254-261.
    4. Dethier, Jean-Jacques & Effenberger, Alexandra, 2012. "Agriculture and development: A brief review of the literature," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 175-205.
    5. Deininger, Klaus & Byerlee, Derek, 2011. "The rise of large farms in land abundant countries : do they have a future ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5588, The World Bank.
    6. Baten, Joerg & Mumme, Christina, 2013. "Does inequality lead to civil wars? A global long-term study using anthropometric indicators (1816–1999)," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 56-79.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:hagchp:6-65. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.