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On the nature of Bulgarian subsistence agriculture

Author

Listed:
  • Philip Kostov

    (Queen's University Belfast)

  • John Lingard

    (University of Newcastle)

Abstract

In most countries of Central and Eastern Europe the process of transition to market economy resulted in an increasingly subsistence type of agriculture. The extent of subsistence farming varies from one country to another, but the phenomenon is universally present. The very existence, yet expansion of subsistence agriculture has been perceived as a paradox. It is sufficient to remind that it simply does not fit the definition of transition, which is viewed as a process that has to bring about the market into economy, the same market that went missing in agriculture. The latter would incline one to consider subsistence agriculture as a temporary phenomenon that will perish as transition advances. The basic textbook economic theory views subsistence agriculture as implicitly irrational and contradicting the sound economic logic and principles. This is also the prevailing opinion on the nature of subsistence agriculture in transition economies, as well as in general. This paper challenges this viewpoint and argues that subsistence agriculture is not only logical consequence from the worsened economic conditions at individual level, but it contributes to the overall market stability. Developing the argument with regard to Bulgaria, which is a country with a large share of subsistence agriculture, as an illustration, it dismisses the claims that subsistence causes waste of production resources and loss of overall welfare. Conversely, it is demonstrates that subsistence agriculture increases both production and consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Kostov & John Lingard, 2004. "On the nature of Bulgarian subsistence agriculture," Others 0409009, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpot:0409009
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 14
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    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/othr/papers/0409/0409009.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Philip Kostov & John Lingard, 2004. "Modelling the effects of subsistence on Bulgarian agricultural performance," Computational Economics 0409002, EconWPA.
    2. Paul Caskie, 2000. "Back to Basics: Household Food Production in Russia," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 196-209.
    3. Earnhart, Dietrich, 1999. "Multiple Penalty Mechanisms in a Principal-Agent Model under Different Institutional Arrangements," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 168-189, March.
    4. Seeth, Harm Tho & Chachnov, Sergei & Surinov, Alexander & Von Braun, Joachim, 1998. "Russian poverty: Muddling through economic transition with garden plots," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(9), pages 1611-1624, September.
    5. Sarris, Alexander H & Doucha, Tomas & Mathijs, Erik, 1999. "Agricultural Restructuring in Central and Eastern Europe: Implications for Competitiveness and Rural Development," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 305-329, August.
    6. Adam Ozanne, 1999. "Perverse supply response in peasant agriculture: A review," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(2), pages 251-270.
    7. Philip Kostov, 2004. "Transition, agricultural decommercialisation, and their implications for quantitative modelling," Others 0409008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D50 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - General
    • P20 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - General
    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices

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