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Are small family farms a societal luxury good in wealthy countries?

Stefan Mann (Department of Socioeconomics, Federal Research Station Agroscope, Ettenhausen, Switzerland)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to test the hypothesis that societies, when becoming wealthier, are increasingly less concerned with the efficiency of their farms. It is to show that and why small family farms are a good which citizens aim to preserve.


Structural change between 2000 and 2010 in two rather wealthy European Union (EU)-member countries and two very wealthy European (non-EU) countries is compared and explained by socioeconomic variables.


The reason for the difference between Germany and Austria on one side and Norway and Switzerland on the other is strong political support in the latter countries where structural change is slowing down. A framework is outlined for why a preference for small family farms may emerge in a wealthy society.


Structural change in this paper is reconstructed as a function of political preferences, being again a function of state of economic development.



Mann, S. (2014), "Are small family farms a societal luxury good in wealthy countries?", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 41 No. 10, pp. 896-905.



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