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The Inequality of Farmland Size in Western Europe

Jason Loughrey (), Trevor Donnellan and John Lennon

No 236341, 90th Annual Conference, April 4-6, 2016, Warwick University, Coventry, UK from Agricultural Economics Society

Abstract: In this paper, we seek to identify spatial clusters of farmland size inequality across Western Europe and to discuss the implications for the future of agriculture and agricultural policy reform in the region. We utilise Eurostat data to estimate the degree of inequality in farmland size at the NUTS (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) 2 level. We utilise geographical information systems software to illustrate the spatial distribution of farm size inequality and conduct exploratory spatial data analysis techniques to identify spatial dependence between neighbouring NUTS 2 regions. The findings show that there are clusters of low inequality in the countries of Northern Europe and clusters with high inequality in much of Southern Europe. The highlands of Scotland are a notable exception to the general trend in Northern Europe. The variation in farmland size is a key determinant in the distribution of farm income. In combination with high farmland prices and sparse land rental opportunities, a highly unequal farm size distribution can militate against the progress of new-entrant farmers and small farmers wishing to expand their production and increase their farm incomes. A highly unequal farm size distribution can therefore grant an elevated importance to land inheritance as a determinant of relative economic success at the farm level.

Keywords: Agricultural; and; Food; Policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 23
Date: 2016-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-eur, nep-geo and nep-net
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DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.236341

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