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Effect of agricultural policy on income and revenue risks in Italian farms: Implications for the use of risk management policies

Simone Severini (Department of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, Tuscia University, Viterbo, Italy)
Antonella Tantari (Policies and Bioeconomics Center, Council for Agricultural Research and Agricultural Economy Analysis, Rome, Italy)
Giuliano Di Tommaso (Department of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, Tuscia University, Viterbo, Italy)

Agricultural Finance Review

ISSN: 0002-1466

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to assess how direct payments (DPs) of the Common Agricultural Policy affect income and revenue variability faced by Italian farmers.


Balanced farm-level panel data are used to construct coefficients of variation over the period 2003-2012. Nonlinear robust regression techniques are used to measure the effect of DP, farm size, fixity in resources, labor intensity, farm production orientation, and specialization on the variability of farm income (FI) and farm revenue. This is done on the overall sample as well as on subsamples of farms located in different regions and belonging to different types of farming.


DPs have mixed effects on the variability of FI. While a negative and significant relationship is found on the whole national sample, this is not generally the case when models are run on the considered subsamples. On the contrary, DPs have always significant variability increasing effects on revenue. This suggests that DPs reduce the degree of risk that farmers face allowing them to engage in riskier activities. Thus, DPs are less effective than expected in terms of income stabilization because these distort farmers’ risk management behavior. Because of this, DPs could constrain the development of markets for risk management instruments and reduce the effectiveness of policies supporting the use of these instruments.


The analysis is inspired by El Benni et al. (2012) but uses a different approach, applies it to a different country, and yields different results. Volatility measures are calculated over more years, and the paper accounts for differences in farm production orientation and is not based on an unbalanced panel of farms. Because of these differences, the authors obtained different results regarding the correlation between DP and income and, even more, revenue variability. Finally, comparing the results of models referring to FI and farm revenue improves the author’s understanding of the impact of DP on farmers’ risk management behavior and allows interesting policy considerations.



The authors would like to thank the Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria (CREA) – Centro Politiche e Bioeconomia of Rome (Italy) for providing the FADN data and related technical support. The authors also thank the editor of the journal and two anonymous referees for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.


Severini, S., Tantari, A. and Di Tommaso, G. (2017), "Effect of agricultural policy on income and revenue risks in Italian farms: Implications for the use of risk management policies", Agricultural Finance Review, Vol. 77 No. 2, pp. 295-311.



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