This paper analyses the factors affecting off-farm labour decisions of Italian farm operators. Using micro-level data from the Farm Business Survey (REA) over the pre- and post-2003 CAP reform periods, we investigated the impact that operator, family, farm and market characteristics exert on these choices. Among other things, the paper focuses also on the differential impact of those variables for operators of smaller and larger holdings. The main results suggest that operator and family characteristics have a significant impact on the decision to participate in off-farm work more for smaller than for bigger farms. By contrast, farm characteristics are more relevant variables for bigger farms. In particular, decoupled farm payments, by increasing the marginal productivity of farm labour, lower the probability of working off the farm only in bigger farms, while coupled subsidies in pre-reform years do not have a significant impact on labour decisions. Finally, we show that, after accounting for the standard covariates, local and territorial labour market characteristics generally have a low effect on off-farm work operators’ choices.
Valentina Raimondi, Daniele Curzi, Danilo Bertoni and Alessandro Olper are researchers in the Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods, University of Milan.