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On the nature of Bulgarian subsistence agriculture

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  • Philip Kostov

    (Queen's University Belfast)

  • John Lingard

    (University of Newcastle)

Abstract

In most countries of Central and Eastern Europe the process of transition to market economy resulted in an increasingly subsistence type of agriculture. The extent of subsistence farming varies from one country to another, but the phenomenon is universally present. The very existence, yet expansion of subsistence agriculture has been perceived as a paradox. It is sufficient to remind that it simply does not fit the definition of transition, which is viewed as a process that has to bring about the market into economy, the same market that went missing in agriculture. The latter would incline one to consider subsistence agriculture as a temporary phenomenon that will perish as transition advances. The basic textbook economic theory views subsistence agriculture as implicitly irrational and contradicting the sound economic logic and principles. This is also the prevailing opinion on the nature of subsistence agriculture in transition economies, as well as in general. This paper challenges this viewpoint and argues that subsistence agriculture is not only logical consequence from the worsened economic conditions at individual level, but it contributes to the overall market stability. Developing the argument with regard to Bulgaria, which is a country with a large share of subsistence agriculture, as an illustration, it dismisses the claims that subsistence causes waste of production resources and loss of overall welfare. Conversely, it is demonstrates that subsistence agriculture increases both production and consumption.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/othr/papers/0409/0409009.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Others with number 0409009.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: 15 Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpot:0409009

Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 14
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Paul Caskie, 2000. "Back to Basics: Household Food Production in Russia," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 196-209.
  2. Seeth, Harm Tho & Chachnov, Sergei & Surinov, Alexander & Von Braun, Joachim, 1998. "Russian poverty: Muddling through economic transition with garden plots," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(9), pages 1611-1624, September.
  3. Earnhart, Dietrich, 1999. "Multiple Penalty Mechanisms in a Principal-Agent Model under Different Institutional Arrangements," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 168-189, March.
  4. Philip Kostov & John Lingard, 2004. "Modelling the effects of subsistence on Bulgarian agricultural performance," Computational Economics 0409002, EconWPA.
  5. Philip Kostov, 2004. "Transition, agricultural decommercialisation, and their implications for quantitative modelling," Others 0409008, EconWPA.
  6. Sarris, Alexander H & Doucha, Tomas & Mathijs, Erik, 1999. "Agricultural Restructuring in Central and Eastern Europe: Implications for Competitiveness and Rural Development," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 305-29, August.
  7. Adam Ozanne, 1999. "Perverse supply response in peasant agriculture: A review," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(2), pages 251-270.
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