The territorial impact of the farmers’ early retirement scheme

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This article considers the causal relationships between the European farmers' early retirement policy instrument and structural and social outcomes. The member states of Greece, Ireland and France have been among the main beneficiaries of this policy scheme, which encourages farmers aged between 55 and 66 to retire and transfer their land to a younger farmer, with multiple effects. The analysis in this article suggests that the accrued pension income is mostly higher than applicants' previous earnings from farming, while the policy instrument is only moderately successful in enlarging farms or encouraging new entrants, with the majority of transfers occurring between members of the same family. The farmers' early retirement scheme appears to be connected more to the regional traditions of inheritance than to farm structures per se. The impact on an unbalanced European age–farmer structure is evaluated as differing little from what would have happened anyway, with only short-term effects reported in relation to the time scale. In summary, the scheme is subject to manipulation in terms of region-specific circumstances and thus fulfils social objectives rather than the purpose of structural cohesion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-272
Number of pages27
JournalSociologia Ruralis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • farming system
  • income
  • pension scheme
  • retirement
  • rural policy
  • social impact
  • territorial management
  • Eurasia
  • Europe
  • France
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Southern Europe
  • Western Europe

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