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Are part-time and full-time small farms detrimental to agriculture : evidence from Taiwan, 1972-1980

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Title: Are part-time and full-time small farms detrimental to agriculture : evidence from Taiwan, 1972-1980
Author: Wardenier, Rita
Degree Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Program Economics
Copyright Date: 1985
Subject Keywords Farms --Taiwan; Agriculture --Taiwan
Abstract: Slow agricultural growth in the seventies in Taiwan has induced a second land reform debate which starts from the assumption that small farms, and especially small part-time farms, are less productive than large full-time farms. But very little empirical evidence is presented. This study attempts to investigate the validity of the assumption. The data is drawn from the 1972-1980 surveys on the North, Mid-, South rice and Sugar regions in the (daily) 'Farm Record Keeping Families' surveys. The differences in production pattern and simple land productivity measures were analysed on the basis of multi-characteristic dummy variable regressions. Total factor productivity was estimated with value-added functions of five family-supplied inputs: paddy and dry cultivated land, male and female labour days and farm assets. The response of the agrarian structure to the loss of rural workers since 1968 (and more recently of land too), has been a decline in large full-time farming. Our study shows that this process should not be countered artificially because there is no evidence that large full-time farming is superior to small full-time farming and only on dominant land type farms in the regions are small full-time farms more efficient than small part-time farms. Large full-time farms have not responded faster to shifts towards non-staple food demand, nor to mechanization and new intermediate inputs. Land productivity on large full-time farms is substantially lower than on small full-time farms and only slightly higher than on small part-time farms. Farm investment, farm assets and machine stock per hectare are similar across farms and additionally, the returns to scale are constant because the 'custom services' system has made machinery divisible. In some cases, part-time small farms show some total factor efficiency loss against full-time small farms, probably because the recommended farming methods are not appropriate for part-time farms. Policies should continue to improve the working of the land market but no artificial agrarian restructuring is recommended. The production of supervision-sensitive crops needs small full-time farmers and part-time farming limitations would produce little efficiency gain against the nightmare of labour movements restrictions.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/25986
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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