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Generation and distribution of productivity gains in French agriculture. Who are the winners and the losers over the last fifty years?


  • Jean-Philippe Boussemart

    (University of Lille 3 and IESEG School of Management (LEM-CNRS))

  • Jean-Pierre Butault

    (INRA Paris and INRA Nancy)

  • Oluwaseun Ojo

    (IESEG School of Management (LEM-CNRS))


This paper offers an approach based on the economic theory of index numbers that revisits the classical surplus accounting technique. We measure the productivity gains and the combined effects of output and input price variation on French farmers’ income between 1959 and 2011, for the whole agricultural sector. During this period, total factor productivity grows at an average annual rate of 1.4% mainly due to a decrease of input quantity over the last thirty years while output volume has stagnated since the end of the nineties. Over the whole period, with a share of nearly 70% of the global surplus, the customers appear as the main beneficiaries of these productivity gains through a decrease in agricultural and food prices. Farmers only retained 23% of the surplus corresponding to a low increase in farm income. Finally, the suppliers and taxpayers are the losers in the surplus distribution via respectively a significant decrease of relative intermediate input prices and a substantial growth of public subsidies in favour of the agricultural sector

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  • Jean-Philippe Boussemart & Jean-Pierre Butault & Oluwaseun Ojo, 2012. "Generation and distribution of productivity gains in French agriculture. Who are the winners and the losers over the last fifty years?," Working Papers 2012-ECO-15, IESEG School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:ies:wpaper:e201215

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John W. Kendrick, 1961. "Productivity Trends in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kend61-1, March.
    2. Fried, Harold O. & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Shelton S. (ed.), 2008. "The Measurement of Productive Efficiency and Productivity Growth," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195183528.
    3. Charles R. Hulten & Edwin R. Dean & Michael J. Harper, 2001. "New Developments in Productivity Analysis," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number hult01-1, March.
    4. Caves, Douglas W & Christensen, Laurits R & Diewert, W Erwin, 1982. "Multilateral Comparisons of Output, Input, and Productivity Using Superlative Index Numbers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(365), pages 73-86, March.
    5. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dakpo, K Hervé & Desjeux, Yann & Jeanneaux, Philippe & Latruffe, Laure, 2016. "Productivity, efficiency and technological change in French agriculture during 2002-2014: A Färe-Primont index decomposition," 149th Seminar, October 27-28, 2016, Rennes, France 244793, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Maranhão, Rebecca Lima Albuquerque & Vieira Filho, José Eustáquio Ribeiro, 2022. "International engagement of Brazilian agribusinesses: a comparative analysis," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), April.
    3. Tomas Balezentis & Vaida Sapolaite, 2022. "Productivity surplus and its distribution in Lithuanian agriculture," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 721-740, August.
    4. Jitea, Ionel-Mugurel & Pocol, Christina Bianca, 2014. "The Impact of the Common Agricultural Policy on Romanian Farming Structures. Who are the Winners and who are the Losers?," 142nd Seminar, May 29-30, 2014, Budapest, Hungary 170799, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. P. Veysset & M. Lherm & P. Natier & Jean-Philippe Boussemart, 2019. "Generation and distribution of productivity gains in beef cattle farming: Who are the winners and losers between 1980 and 2015?," Post-Print hal-02107423, HAL.
    6. Jitea, Ionel-Mugurel & Pocol, Cristina Bianca, 2014. "The Common Agricultural Policy and productivity gains in Romanian agriculture: is there any evidence of convergence to the Western European realities?," Studies in Agricultural Economics, Research Institute for Agricultural Economics, vol. 116(3), pages 1-3, December.
    7. Dakpo, K Hervé & Desjeux, Yann & Jeanneaux, Philippe & Latruffe , Laure, 2017. "Productivity, technical efficiency and technological change in French agriculture during 2002-2014: A Färe-Primont index decomposition," Working Papers 263010, Institut National de la recherche Agronomique (INRA), Departement Sciences Sociales, Agriculture et Alimentation, Espace et Environnement (SAE2).
    8. Laurent Piet & Vincent Chatellier & Nathalie Delame & Yann Desjeux & Philippe Jeanneaux & Catherine Laroche-Dupraz & Aude Ridier & Patrick Veysset, 2021. "Hétérogénéité, déterminants et soutien du revenu des agriculteurs français," Post-Print hal-03405184, HAL.

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    More about this item


    Index numbers; Total Factor Productivity; Factor income distribution; Agricultural and food policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy; Animal Welfare Policy

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