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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Efficiency differentials in peasant agriculture and their implications for development policies
Author:Shapiro, Kenneth H.
Year:1982
Periodical:Journal of Development Studies
Volume:19
Issue:2
Pages:179-190
Language:English
Geographic term:Tanzania
Subjects:small farms
cotton
Link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00220388308421857
Abstract:The present paper reviews the theoretical and empirical work on allocative effiency in traditional agriculture and presents a new study of technical efficiency among Tanzanian cotton farmers. The theoretical arguments are shown to apply primarily in a competitive context that differs significantly from that in which peasant farms operate. Reanalysis of earlier empirical studies shows that on average, the marginal value products of inputs differ by more than 40 per cent from the marginal factor costs to which they should be equated under allocative efficiency. The author's own study among Tanzanian cotton farmers in Geita District reveals that output could be increased by 51 per cent if all farmers achieved those levels of technical efficiency that were in fact achieved by the best farmers in the sample using the same inputs and technologies that the less efficient used. These results indicate that the efficiency hypothesis may not be applicable to much of peasant agriculture and that development policies might fruitfully place more emphasis on raising large numbers of farmers closer to the relatively high efficiency levels achieved by some of their neighbours. Notes, ref., tab.
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