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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

Suggested Citation

  • 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, June.
    2. 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. 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).
    3. P. Veysset & M. Lherm & P. Boussemart & P. Natier, 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.

    More about this item


    Index numbers; Total Factor Productivity; Factor income distribution; Agricultural and food policy;

    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

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