Federal farm program benefits accrue disproportionately to large-scale farm operators, and continue largely because of the political influence of their beneficiaries. Some writers argue that these payments stem the movement of labor out of agriculture, ultimately reducing the pace of rural depopulation. Here, a theoretical model linking farm program payments to population loss is presented and empirically estimated for the years 1980-90. Larger farm program payments as a share of total cash marketing receipts were associated with greater population losses from rural counties. This result holds after controlling for other economic variables affecting population migration from rural areas.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Economics and Econometrics