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The costs and benefits of land fragmentation of rice farms in Japan

  • Kawasaki, Kentaro
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    Land fragmentation, in which a farm operates multiple, separate plots of land, is a common phenomenon in Japan and many other countries. Usually, land fragmentation is regarded as a harmful phenomenon as it increases production costs and reduces the advantages of scale economies. However, it is also known that fragmentation may have beneficial effects in reducing risk through spatial dispersion of plots. Thus, land fragmentation has both costs and benefits, and whether it is beneficial or harmful is determined by the magnitude of these costs and benefits. This article investigates the costs and benefits of land fragmentation empirically using panel data from Japanese rice farms. The empirical results reveal that fragmentation increases production costs and offsets economies of size, and these impacts strengthen as farm size increases. Moreover, although fragmentation does reduce production risk, its monetary value is far below the cost of land fragmentation. From these findings, we conclude that land fragmentation is an impediment to efficient rice production in Japan.

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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/162026
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    Article provided by Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society in its journal Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

    Volume (Year): 54 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages:

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    Handle: RePEc:ags:aareaj:162026
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    1. Van Hung, Pham & MacAulay, T. Gordon & Marsh, Sally P., 2007. "The economics of land fragmentation in the north of Vietnam," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 51(2), June.
    2. Fenoaltea, Stefano, 1976. "Risk, transaction costs, and the organization of medieval agriculture," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 129-151, April.
    3. Nguyen, Tin & Cheng, Enjiang & Findlay, Christopher, 1996. "Land fragmentation and farm productivity in China in the 1990s," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 169-180.
    4. Jabarin, Amer S. & Epplin, Francis M., 1994. "Impacts of land fragmentation on the cost of producing wheat in the rain-fed region of northern Jordan," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 11(2-3), December.
    5. Tan, Shuhao & Heerink, Nico & Kruseman, Gideon & Qu, Futian, 2008. "Do fragmented landholdings have higher production costs? Evidence from rice farmers in Northeastern Jiangxi province, P.R. China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 347-358, September.
    6. Antonio Alvarez & Carlos Arias, 2003. "Diseconomies of Size with Fixed Managerial Ability," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(1), pages 134-142.
    7. Kodde, David A & Palm, Franz C, 1986. "Wald Criteria for Jointly Testing Equality and Inequality Restriction s," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1243-48, September.
    8. Martin, William J., 1983. "A Note on Cost Functions and the Regression Fallacy," Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 51(03), December.
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