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Farm Labor: Key Conceptual And Measurement Issues On The Route To Better Farm Cost And Return Estimates


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  • Wallace HUFFMAN



This paper examines methods frequently used by agricultural economists to measure the cost of farm labor, including operator and other unpaid, and to provide insights for improving them. The tradition is broken of treating labor and management separately, and labor is defined as encompassing all the productive activities of individuals or human agents used in a business, including farming. Conceptual issues are first addressed: (1) the nature of economic cost and the cost of unpaid labor and (2) time allocation in agricultural household models where an individual's annual time endowment is allocated potentially to leisure, farm work, and off- farm work. Measurement issues are addressed second: (1) specific methods for improving the measurement of the cost of farm labor and (2) specific procedures for estimating the opportunity cost of operator and unpaid farm labor. The overall goal is to obtain better farm cost and return estimates.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Iowa State University Department of Economics in its series Staff Papers with number 280.

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Date of creation: Apr 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:isu:isuesp:280

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Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
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Cited by:
  1. Andersson, Fredrik Ca, 2005. "The Swedish 1990 Agricultural Reform - Adjustments of the Use of Land," 2005 International Congress, August 23-27, 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark 24706, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  2. Robert E. Evenson & Wallace B. Huffman, 1997. "Long-Run Structural and Productivity Change in U.S. Agriculture: Effects of Prices and Policies," Working Papers 773, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.


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