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Challenging small-scale farming, a non-parametric analysis of the (inverse) relationship between farm productivity and farm size in Burundi

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  • M. VERSCHELDE

    ()

  • M. D’HAESE
  • G. RAYP
  • E. VANDAMME

Abstract

We use a nonparametric approach to investigate the relationship between farm produc- tivity and farming scale. A Kernel regression is used on data of mixed cropping systems to study the determinants of production including different factors that have been identifieed in literature as missing variables in the testing of the inverse relationship such as soil quality, location and household heterogeneity. Household data on farm activities and crop produc- tion was gathered among 640 households in 2007 in two Northern provinces of Burundi. Five production models were specified each with different control variables. Returns to scale are found to depend on the farm scale. Our results qualify to a large extent the finding of an inverse relationship between farm size and productivity, though without fully explaining it. Other factors that affect significantly positive production include the soil quality and produc- tion orientation towards banana or cash crop production. Production seems to be negatively affected by field fragmentation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in its series Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium with number 11/745.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:11/745

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  1. Tristen Hayfield & Jeffrey S. Racine, . "Nonparametric Econometrics: The np Package," Journal of Statistical Software, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(i05).
  2. Pramila Krishnan & Stefan Dercon, 1995. "Income portfolios in rural Ethiopia and Tanzania: choices and constraints," CSAE Working Paper Series 1995-12, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
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  4. Assuncao, Juliano J. & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2003. "Can unobserved heterogeneity in farmer ability explain the inverse relationship between farm size and productivity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 189-194, August.
  5. Benjamin, Dwayne, 1995. "Can unobserved land quality explain the inverse productivity relationship?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 51-84, February.
  6. Peter Hall & Qi Li & Jeffrey S. Racine, 2007. "Nonparametric Estimation of Regression Functions in the Presence of Irrelevant Regressors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(4), pages 784-789, November.
  7. Lamb, Russell L., 2003. "Inverse productivity: land quality, labor markets, and measurement error," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 71-95, June.
  8. Wiggins, Steve & Kirsten, Johann & Llambí, Luis, 2010. "The Future of Small Farms," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 1341-1348, October.
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  10. Barrett, Christopher B. & Bellemare, Marc F. & Hou, Janet Y., 2010. "Reconsidering Conventional Explanations of the Inverse Productivity-Size Relationship," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 88-97, January.
  11. Lipton, Michael, 2010. "From Policy Aims and Small-farm Characteristics to Farm Science Needs," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 1399-1412, October.
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  13. Racine, Jeff & Li, Qi, 2004. "Nonparametric estimation of regression functions with both categorical and continuous data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 99-130, March.
  14. Feder, Gershon, 1985. "The relation between farm size and farm productivity : The role of family labor, supervision and credit constraints," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2-3), pages 297-313, August.
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  16. Daniel J. Henderson & Subal C. Kumbhakar, 2006. "Public and Private Capital Productivity Puzzle: A Nonparametric Approach," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 219–232, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Tomasz Gerard Czekaj & Arne Henningsen, 2012. "Comparing Parametric and Nonparametric Regression Methods for Panel Data: the Optimal Size of Polish Crop Farms," IFRO Working Paper 2012/12, University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics.

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