Technical efficiency of organic pasture farming in Germany: The role of location economics and of specific knowledge

We analyze the efficiency of organic pasture farming in Germany using data from 1994/95 to 2005/06. Five inputs and one output are analyzed by means of a stochastic frontier production function, allowing for heteroscedasticity and technical effects. Five sets of possible determinants of technical efficiency are considered in the model. These include: (1) farm structure and resources; (2) human capital and management capacities; (3) institutional choice; and (4) subsidies. To these factors that are commonly included in technical effects models, we add (5) a set of variables that capture localization and urbanization economies such as the share of organic farms in a region and the regional share of votes for the Green Party in recent elections. These regional effects are found to have a significant impact on the technical efficiency of organic farms. The evolution of efficiency on farms that are converting from conventional to organic farming is also analyzed.

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Published in Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 27(3):228–241, 2012.

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