Measuring and causes of inequality in farm sizes in the United States
This article examines the notion of farm size inequality expressed as sales inequality in the United States. The farm size index (FSI) is developed as a measure of farm size inequality. FSIs are calculated for the farming sector in all 50 states and large variation in farm size across the states and over time is determined. The largest FSIs are calculated for a number of Southern, Southwestern, and Pacific states. Increasing FSIs over time are observed in all states as well. The spatial and temporal (between 1987 and 1997) differences in FSIs are explained by running a pooled, cross-sectional time-series model. The most influential variables accounting for the differences have to do with the ownership structure, where a larger presence of individual and family farms relative to corporate farms and cooperatives leads to a lower degree of farm size inequality. Also, states and regions having relatively larger number of farms owned by minorities have higher FSIs. Shrinking opportunities in the agricultural sector relative to the rest of the economy, primarily services, are reflected in a declining share of agricultural sector state income in total gross state product (GSP). This in turn leads to an increase in the farming sector's FSI suggesting that only larger, more profitable operations are the likely candidates to pursue farming activities. Finally, grains farming regions have all lower degree of farm size inequality than livestock or fruits and vegetables regions. Profitable grains farming requires relatively large farm size and equipment investments, which leads to a relatively homogeneous structure of grains farms. A larger variation in the size of profitable farm operations is possible in fruits and vegetables and livestock. This leads to the existence of a large number of very small but still sustainable farms, and a relatively small number of large farms that capture most of market sales share. Copyright 2005 International Association of Agricultural Economics.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 33 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (07)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0169-5150|
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/subs.asp?ref=0169-5150|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972.
"Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-795, December.
- Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
- William Levernier & Dan S. Rickman & Mark D. Partridge, 1995. "Variation in U.S. State Income Inequality: 1960-1990," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 18(3), pages 355-378, July.
- Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1994. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 299-322 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1137-1160.
- Becker, G.S. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 92-5, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
- Gary S. Murphy Becker & Kevin M., 1992. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 79, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- D'Souza, Gerard E. & Ikerd, John E., 1996. "Small Farms And Sustainable Development: Is Small More Sustainable?," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 28(01), July.
- Lianos, Theodore P & Parliarou, Despina, 1986. "Farm Size Structure in Greek Agriculture," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 13(2), pages 233-248.
- D'Souza, Gerard & Ikerd, John, 1996. "Small Farms and Sustainable Development: Is Small More Sustainable?," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(01), pages 73-83, July.
- Newell, Andrew & Pandya, Kiran & Symons, James, 1997. "Farm Size and the Intensity of Land Use in Gujarat," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 307-315, April.
- Bhalla, Surjit S & Roy, Prannoy L, 1988. "Mis-specification in Farm Productivity Analysis: The Role of Land Quality," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(1), pages 55-73, March.
- Schmitt, Gunther, 1991. "Why Is the Agriculture of Advanced Western Economies Still Organized by Family Farms? Will This Continue to Be So in the Future?," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 18(3-4), pages 443-458.
- Jamie S. Partridge & Mark D. Partridge & Dan S. Rickman, 1998. "State Patterns In Family Income Inequality," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(3), pages 277-294, 07. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)