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Can area measurement error explain the inverse farm size productivity relationship?

Author

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  • Holden, Stein

    () (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences)

  • Fisher, Monica

    () (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center)

Abstract

The existence of an inverse relationship (IR) between farm size and productivity in tropical agriculture remains a debated issue with policy relevance. Poor agricultural statistical data, including data on farm sizes and farm plot sizes that typically are self-reported by farmers, can lead to biased results and wrong policy conclusions. This study combines self-reported and GPS-measured farm plot and farm sizes to assess how measurement error affects the IR using three rounds of farm plot and household data from Malawi. The results show that measurement error covers up more than 60% of the IR for the total sample but leads to an upward bias in the IR on farms less than one ha. Land and labor market imperfections in combination with food self-sufficiency motives appear to explain most of the IR and lead to a strong IR on farms below one ha.

Suggested Citation

  • Holden, Stein & Fisher, Monica, 2013. "Can area measurement error explain the inverse farm size productivity relationship?," CLTS Working Papers 12/13, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:nlsclt:2013_012
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    File URL: http://www.umb.no/statisk/clts/papers/clts_wp12_2013.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Willy, Daniel Kyalo & Muyanga, Milu & Jayne, Thomas, 2016. "Can Economic and Environmental Benefits Associated with Agricultural Intensification be Sustained at High Population Densities? A Farm Level Empirical Analysis," 2016 AAAE Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 246433, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
    2. Holden, Stein T. & Otsuka, Keijiro, 2014. "The roles of land tenure reforms and land markets in the context of population growth and land use intensification in Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 88-97.
    3. Keijiro Otsuka & Frank Place, 2013. "Evolutionary Changes in Land Tenure and Agricultural Intensification in Sub-Saharan Africa," GRIPS Discussion Papers 13-22, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
    4. Graeub, Benjamin E. & Chappell, M. Jahi & Wittman, Hannah & Ledermann, Samuel & Kerr, Rachel Bezner & Gemmill-Herren, Barbara, 2016. "The State of Family Farms in the World," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 1-15.
    5. GOUNDAN, Anatole & MAGNE DOMGHO, Léa Vicky, 2016. "Land Area Measurement bias: Evidence from West African countries," MPRA Paper 75476, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inverse farm size – productivity relationship; Measurement error; Land and labor market imperfections; Land quality; Malawi.;

    JEL classification:

    • J43 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Agricultural Labor Markets
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets

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