Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Wies i rolnictwo
Title From disappearance to recovery: family farming in Central Europe. Questioning the path dependency hypothesis
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 79-104
URL http://ksow.pl/uploads/tx_library/files/Kwartalnik_nr_1.1-2015.pdf#page=81
Abstract
Family farming is organized in different forms in the countries of Central Europe
where collectivisation had been implemented. Many of these forms are different than seen in
other parts of Europe. The reprivatisation and revival of family farming systems has been seen
to be a complex process dependent on many determining factors. This article addresses why the
various types of farms have arisen, why they survive or fail as a result of a process of
de-collectivisation. The inheritance of the organisational of farms from parent to child has had to
be replaced and questions arise about historical ownership and how this explains present forms.
Small and large farms are generally dominate the agrarian structure. In a number of countries
the family farms of a medium and a large size is less significant. To explain this situation
a re-evaluation of institutional changes must be conducted, especially in light of both historical
and current bifurcation where smaller smooth changes to the system caused sudden ‘qualitative’
or topological changes. Institutional change has to be considered and analysed as a moment of
gradual elimination of the collectivized system through a number sequences of causally related
events, each at a different pace. The absence or the weakness of modern family farms is the
result of an unfavourable mix of both informal and formal institutions that put pressure on the
revival of family farming. The political and economic environment created during transitional
periods gave an obvious comparative advantage to large-scale farms. These same institutional
changes had no particular limiting effect on the survival of small subsistence farms.
Path dependent mechanisms, as they can effect to outcomes at a single moment in time or to
long run equilibria of a process, are not absolute and policies implemented by reformers tend
to lead to path diversion creating a plurality of structural arrangements often inefficient. New
structural dichotomy has appeared between agricultural systems based on a high concentration
of land and the use of paid labour (the Czech case), and agricultural systems with more dual
configurations that combine family and non-family labour (Hungarian and Lithuanian cases).
Path shifting mechanisms have been in favour of the continuity of large farms being
transformed into corporate holdings or partnerships. They consequently have inhibited the
setting up of a sustainable family farming model. Dismantling collective farming might opendifferent pathways, and these pathways from collectivism to post-collectivism are not
straightforward. Consequently any consolidation of family holdings characteristic of market
societies has been slow and is incomplete.

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