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Farm Wealth Inequality Within and Across States in the United States

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  • Mishra, Ashok K.
  • Moss, Charles B.
  • Erickson, Kenneth W.

Abstract

This paper uses Theil's (1979) entropy-based measure of inequality and farm-level data to examine changes in farm business wealth (farm equity) of farm households. The farms associated with farm households are grouped by state into ten regions of the United States. The Theil entropy measure is then calculated and used to decompose total inequality of farm wealth into within-state and across-states (between states) inequalities for each region. Results show that since the enactment of the 1996 Federal Agricultural Improvement and Reform (FAIR) Act, inequality in farm wealth among farms within a state has decreased relative to the number of farms per state, across all regions. Further, most of the reduction in farm wealth inequality is attributed to increased equality in the distribution of real estate assets of the farm households, a major component of farm wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • Mishra, Ashok K. & Moss, Charles B. & Erickson, Kenneth W., 2006. "Farm Wealth Inequality Within and Across States in the United States," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 251-264, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:agrerw:v:35:y:2006:i:02:p:251-264_00
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Vincent E. Breneman & Richard F. Nehring, 2006. "Urban Sprawl and Farmland Prices," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 88(4), pages 915-929.
    2. Mishra, Ashok K. & El-Osta, Hisham S., 2005. "Decomposition of Variability in Farm Household Assets and Debt," Journal of Agribusiness, Agricultural Economics Association of Georgia, vol. 23(2), pages 1-20.
    3. El-Osta, Hisham S. & Morehart, Mitchell J., 2002. "The Dynamics of Wealth Concentration Among Farm Operator Households," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 31(1), pages 1-13, April.
    4. Steven C. Blank & Kenneth W. Erickson & Charles B. Moss & Richard Nehring, 2004. "Agricultural Profits and Farm Household Wealth," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1299-1307.
    5. Mishra, Ashok K. & El-Osta, Hisham S. & Morehart, Mitchell J. & Johnson, James D. & Hopkins, Jeffrey W., 2002. "Income, Wealth, And The Economic Well-Being Of Farm Households," Agricultural Economics Reports 33967, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    6. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    7. Blank, Steven C. & Erickson, Kenneth W. & Moss, Charles B., 2005. "Profit Patterns Across American Agriculture," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 30(2), pages 1-26, August.
    8. Dubman, Robert, 2000. "Variance Estimation With USDA's Farm Costs and Returns Surveys and Agricultural Resource Management Study Surveys," Staff Reports 276685, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    9. Foster, James E., 1983. "An axiomatic characterization of the Theil measure of income inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 105-121, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Magalhaes, Eduardo & Diao, Xinshen, 2009. "Productivity convergence in Brazil: The case of grain production," IFPRI discussion papers 857, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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