Patterns in technical efficiency and technical change at the farm-level in England and Wales, 1982-2002

David Hadley

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English and Welsh farm-level survey data are employed to estimate stochastic frontier production functions for eight different farm types (cereal, dairy, sheep, beef, poultry, pigs, general cropping and mixed) for the period 1982 to 2002. Differences in the relative efficiency of farms are explored by the simultaneous estimation of a model of technical inefficiency effects. The analysis shows that, generally, farms of all types are relatively efficient with a large proportion of farms operating close to the production frontier. However, whilst the frontier farms of all types are becoming more efficient through time because of technical change, it is also the case that the efficiency of the average farm for most farm types is increasing at a slower rate. In addition, annual mean levels of efficiency for most farm types have declined between 1982 and 2002. The factors that consistently appear to have a statistically significant effect on differences in efficiency between farms are: farm or herd size, farm debt ratios, farmer age, levels of specialisation and ownership status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-100
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Inefficiency effects
  • stochastic frontiers
  • technical change
  • technical efficiency
  • D24
  • Q12
  • O3

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