Is small family farming more environmentally sustainable? Evidence from a spatial regression discontinuity design in Germany

David Wuepper, Stefan Wimmer, Johannes Sauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article investigates the effect of small family farming on the use of sustainable farming practices in Germany. For causal identification, we employ a fuzzy spatial regression discontinuity design at the historical inner-German border, adjust p-values for multiple hypothesis testing, and compare distinct strategies to classify farms. The results show that small family farming leads to more spatial diversification (more products), but less temporal diversification (more monocultures), more bare soils during winter (fewer cover crops), and less creation or conservation of structural elements (such as hedges, walls, and trees). Thus, our empirical evidence does not support the idea that small family farming is unambiguously more sustainable than its alternatives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104360
JournalLand Use Policy
Volume90
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Agricultural sustainability
  • East and west Germany
  • Small family farming
  • Spatial regression discontinuity

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