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Is Sustainability Compatible with Profitability? An Empirical Analysis on Family Farming Activity


  • Laura Piedra-Muñoz

    () (Department of Economics and Business, University of Almería (Agrifood Campus of International Excellence, ceiA3), Ctra. Sacramento s/n, 04120 Almería, Spain)

  • Emilio Galdeano-Gómez

    () (Department of Economics and Business, University of Almería (Agrifood Campus of International Excellence, ceiA3), Ctra. Sacramento s/n, 04120 Almería, Spain)

  • Juan C. Pérez-Mesa

    () (Department of Economics and Business, University of Almería (Agrifood Campus of International Excellence, ceiA3), Ctra. Sacramento s/n, 04120 Almería, Spain)


Sustainability is a social concern and a new strategic factor for productive and economic viability. Nevertheless, research on this subject in a holistic approach is limited, and even to a lesser extent when dealing with family farms. This paper analyzes the impact of different aspects of sustainability (socio-economic characteristics, environmentally respectful practices, and innovation) on profitability. The data collection instruments include a survey questionnaire on farming in Almería, a province in Southeast Spain, and the methodology followed involves a two-step regression model. The main results show how several socio-economic and environmental-innovation features of family farms have positive effects on their economic performance. Among others, profitability increases when there are better educated and younger family farm decision-makers; the farm is specialized and supported by more efficient cooperatives: and, particularly, when the family farm displays greater concern for environmental practices and better disposition towards agroecological innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Piedra-Muñoz & Emilio Galdeano-Gómez & Juan C. Pérez-Mesa, 2016. "Is Sustainability Compatible with Profitability? An Empirical Analysis on Family Farming Activity," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(9), pages 1-15, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:9:p:893-:d:77380

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lehtonen, Markku, 2004. "The environmental-social interface of sustainable development: capabilities, social capital, institutions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 199-214, June.
    2. Andrea Baudoin Farah & Almudena Gómez-Ramos, 2014. "Competitiveness vs. Sustainability: An Assessment of Profitability as a Component of an Approach on “Sustainable Competitiveness” in Extensive Farming Systems of Central Spain," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(11), pages 1-27, November.
    3. Lauriane Mouysset & Luc Doyen & Frédéric Jiguet, 2014. "From Population Viability Analysis to Coviability of Farmland Biodiversity and Agriculture," Post-Print hal-01565883, HAL.
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