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Is Aging the Important Factor for Sustainable Agricultural Development in Korea? Evidence from the Relationship between Aging and Farm Technical Efficiency

Jun Ho Seok (), Hanpil Moon (), GwanSeon Kim () and Michael R. Reed ()
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Jun Ho Seok: National Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Wanju-gun, Jeollabuk-do 55365, Korea
Hanpil Moon: Korea Rural Economic Institute, Naju-si, Jeollanam-do 58217, Korea
GwanSeon Kim: Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546, USA
Michael R. Reed: Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546, USA

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 7, 1-15

Abstract: This paper examines the effects of aging and income subsidies on farm efficiency in Korea by utilizing the Korean Farm Household Economic Survey from 2008 to 2015. A stochastic frontier model with a non-monotonic assumption on the effect of efficiency factors is implemented to reflect a super aging and less developed production structure in Korean agriculture. This study finds continuously decreasing farm efficiency with age, which contradicts the commonly assumed inverted-U relationship between age and productivity. Especially, we find that labor is the most important factor to explain recent farm efficiency losses in Korea. Furthermore, this paper finds that the Korean income subsidy has a negative effect on farm efficiency. Our results provide two policy implications for the government of Korea. First, even though the “Returns to the Farm and Rural program” is appropriate, Korea should modify the program to encourage more young people to participate this program rather than old people, in order to attain the sustainable development of the agricultural sector. Second, a policy maker in Korea should consider a coupled subsidy that is directly related to farm production rather than a decoupled subsidy, regardless of the lower efficiency of the coupled subsidy in achieving agricultural development.

Keywords: aging; farm efficiency; income subsidy; non-monotonic assumption; returns to the farm and rural program (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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