Structural Change, Spatial Competition and Revealed Competitiveness: Farm Survival in Austria

The agricultural sector has been characterised by efficiency gains and an increase in optimal firm size, provoking net firm exits. We intend to isolate factors explaining firm survival and firm growth as the indicators of competitiveness. As agricultural land, constituting an important input factor, is scarce and immobile, the strategies of farms to survive in this market are limited. One option is to diversify the production by offering products which require no farmland, like agritourism. An IV approach will allow us to identify the causal effect of agritourism on farm survival. In addition, we contribute to explaining the striking regional heterogeneity of the structural change in Austria. The second part of the study focuses on the competition for land, which is limited and thus a farm may only cultivate more land if other farms nearby exit the market. We can draw on unique and extremely rich data for this empirical analysis, comprising geo-referenced data of virtually the entire population of both farmsteads and plots (parcels of land) under cultivation. We intend to apply spatial econometric models to quantify the spillover effects of nearby farms leaving the market on the performance of the surviving farms.