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What Makes a Farmer? The Limited Expansion of Commercial Farming Among Bulgarian Smallholders

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  • Mieke Meurs

Abstract

Post-socialist restoration of property rights brought expectations that small commercial farming would expand, raising smallholder incomes. However, commercial farming remains limited among smallholders in many places. This paper uses interviews with Bulgarian smallholders to analyze the decision-making process related to land use. Land holders differ in their goals for farming and these differences are associated with land use. Some landholders adjust their goals toward more income-generating uses as they experience better-than-expected returns, while others are content with more modest returns. But few seem willing to give up farming altogether. If goals differ, many farmers adjust slowly from a starting point strongly influenced by local history, and few exit farming altogether, more complete development of property rights, markets and contracting systems alone will not result in wider adoption of commercial farming. While commercially-, and even growth-oriented smallholders may emerge, significant smallholder land will remain in less productive uses for some time.

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File URL: http://www.american.edu/cas/economics/research/upload/2013-08.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by American University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2013-08.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:2013-08

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Web page: http://www.american.edu/cas/economics/

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Keywords: Bulgaria; smallholder; agriculture;

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  1. Christoph Engel & Elke U. Weber, 2006. "The Impact of Institutions on the Decision How to Decide," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2006_19, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  2. Davidsson, Per, 1989. "Entrepreneurship -- And after? A study of growth willingness in small firms," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 211-226, May.
  3. Ricardo Hausmann & Dani Rodrik, 2002. "Economic Development as Self-Discovery," NBER Working Papers 8952, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. J. Taylor & Irma Adelman, 2003. "Agricultural Household Models: Genesis, Evolution, and Extensions," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 33-58, January.
  5. Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann, 2010. "The limits of self-governance when cooperators get punished: Experimental evidence from urban and rural Russia," Discussion Papers 2010-05, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  6. Tom Hertz, 2007. "The Effect of Non-Farm Income on Investment in Bulgarian Family Farming," Working Papers 2007-15, American University, Department of Economics.
  7. Talip Kilic & Calogero Carletto & Juna Miluka & Sara Savastano, 2009. "Rural nonfarm income and its impact on agriculture: evidence from Albania," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 40(2), pages 139-160, 03.
  8. Wise, John & Yotopoulos, Pan A, 1969. "The Empirical Content of Economic Rationality: A Test for a Less Developed Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(6), pages 976-1004, Nov./Dec..
  9. Gogodze, Joseph & Kan, Iddo & Kimhi, Ayal, 2005. "Development of Individual Farming in Georgia: Descriptive Analysis and Comparisons," MPRA Paper 11721, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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