FE Workingpaper / Universität Kiel, Department of Food Economics and Consumption Studies 0002
This paper examines the impact of various farm and household characteristics (such as farm size, the off-farm employment status, the farm operator's age and schooling and the number of family members) on the level as well as the dynamics of on-farm diversification. Using linked census data for Upper-Austria from 1980, 1985 and 1990 we provide evidence that smaller farms are more specialised and also tend to increase the degree of specialisation over time more quickly than large farms. A significantly lower degree of diversification (higher degree of specialisation) as well as a stronger reduction in diversification over time is also reported for businesses operated by older, less educated, part-time farm operators. The analysis of diversification dynamics also suggests that (a) farms adjust to changes in their environment by steadily approaching their long-run equilibrium level of diversification (b-convergence), and (b) the variance of the diversification distribution declines over time (s-convergence).