Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - 114th EAAE Seminar 2010

Call for Papers

The organizers invite an international scientific audience in the fields of agricultural economics, agricultural policy, farm management and any other field referring to the subject.

In order to organize the seminar in the best possible manner, participants who intend to contribute a paper are requested to e-mail an abstract of maximal 2 pages (about 500 words) in English by November 15, 2009, to

The abstract should indicate: 1) the question addressed, 2) the concepts and theories to which one refers, 3) the methodology used, and 4) the results obtained.

Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by December 31, 2009.

The deadline for the final submission of the accepted papers is March 1, 2010.

The official language of the seminar will be English.

All accepted papers will be published on a CD-ROM.

A selection of contributed papers will be published in a Special Issue of the European Review of Agricultural Economics (ERAE) after an external review process.

To download the flyer of the call, please click here.


Without prejudging the organization of the sessions, expected topics to be covered by the papers include the following items:

  • Theoretical Concepts for the Analysis of Structural Change in Agriculture

Existing agricultural structures are characterized by a high degree of persistence - sometimes labeled as inertia, hysteresis or path dependence. Traditional explanations for this phenomenon emphasize the role of adjustment cost, mobility restrictions of production factors, financial constraints or sociological factors. Recently, the real options theory has been used as an alternative approach for explaining economic hysteresis. Real options models combine sunk costs, uncertainty, and managerial flexibility in a dynamic model of decision making.

  • Structural Change in Farm Level Models
Existing farm level models capture structural change only in a limited way. Frequently, intertemporal interdependencies (e.g. investment decisions), risk (e.g. financial planning) and strategic interactions (such as those on land markets) are not considered. In order to quantify structural change and to derive policy recommendations, it is necessary to have a fundamental understanding of farm-level structural change. Recent advancements (e.g. multi-agent models) allow for a microeconomic perspective in which an economic system is interpreted from the “bottom up” and structural change is an endogenous result of individual actions and interactions.

  • Structural Change in Partial and General Equilibrium Models

The majority of existing partial and general equilibrium simulation models covering the agricultural sector in some detail is comparative static and captures the dynamics of structural change only in a very limited way. Important factors such as investments and farm exits are often not taken into consideration explicitly. Simulation models provide an important contribution to the analysis of policy impacts on expected prices, land use and farm income. For a better understanding of the links between policy changes and the structure of the agricultural sector, however, models need to be improved from a theoretical and methodological standpoint in order to capture structural dynamics - for instance, through the incorporation of tools dealing with farm exits and investments in a dynamic way.

  • (Micro)Econometric Analysis of Structural Change

Besides ex-ante policy impact analyses empirical foundation of (micro)economic causal relations are essential for the understanding of adjustment processes in agriculture. Important aspects include, for example, investment behavior of farmers, entry and exit decisions, farm growth and specialization. Advances in econometric methods and the use of statistical data on a low aggregation level allow for disentangling the complex relations between variables indicating structural adjustments and the economic drivers behind these processes.

  • Behavioral Models on Entrepreneurial Decision Making

Economic decisions of entrepreneurs are rarely the outcome of pure rational behavior as presumed by most normative optimization models. Rather, real world decisions are made under bounded rationality. As a result, optimization models frequently fail to predict actual decisions of farmers, particularly in complex decision problems. In light of this, behavioral models, descriptive game theory, and experimental economics are becoming increasingly popular for the analysis and understanding of farmers’ decisions and their influence on structural change.

  • Economic Performance and Efficiency of Different Farm Structures

The relationship between farm size, growth and economic performance has been discussed controversially over a long time. Anyhow, the existence and persistence of differences in efficiency among farms is a key factor in understanding structural change in agriculture. Solid empirical work is still necessary for explaining the observed heterogeneity in efficiency.

  • Impacts of Policy on Farm Structures

A substantial literature based on various methods analyzes the effect of agricultural policies on aggregate variables such as prices and land use at the sector level. Research on the impact of policies on farm structures is less developed, mainly because of the methodological challenges involved. Furthermore, the analysis of the impact of a wide set of heterogeneous policies under the heading of the Second Pillar of the CAP is a new challenge which needs to be addressed. Finally, the importance of policies which are not predominantly “agricultural” - namely renewable energy policies - is increasing rapidly. New methodological developments such as the integration of simulation models at different aggregation stages and panel data econometrics provide increasing opportunities to address these questions.

  • The Role of Factor Markets for Structural Change

Land as a production factor constitutes a key factor in determining the relative competitiveness of farms. With the introduction of direct payments the functioning and efficiency of land markets have come on the agenda of the policy debate. Developments on land markets are expected to have an important impact on the adjustment capacity and the entry into and exit from the sector.

  • The Impact of Technical Change
Technical change is an important driving force for the evolution of farm structure. Technological and organizational innovations affect the profitability of farms. In general, however, they are not neutral with respect to farm size and farm type. Thus a clear understanding of the diffusion process of innovations and the adoption decisions of farmers is a crucial issue in this context.
  • Agricultural Production of Renewable Energy
The rise of prices for fossil energy and the promotion of renewable energies have induced a considerable increase in the energetic use of biomass in the recent past, which, in turn, led to an increase of food prices. By now, many farmers consider energy production as an important income source. However, the long-lasting effects on production structure, income distribution and farm structure are not well explored yet.